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Digital Heritage Collections Survey 2018

Survey Background

In 2018, Oregon Heritage conducted a survey of heritage organizations in the state to learn more about their digital collections. Organization with and without digital collections were encouraged to respond.

The goals of the survey were twofold:

  1. Determine strategies, tools and trainings that will be most helpful to organizations at all stages of the digitization process.
  2. Consider how to get collections from smaller organizations into the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) or on a centralized host platform.
Key Findings
  • 178 unique organizational responses
  • 128 of responders have digital collections
  • 114 organizations are actively digitizing their collections
  • The number of digital heritage objects in Oregon is estimated to be between 231,000 and 580,000
  • Of the 50 organizations without digital collections, 45 expressed an interested in digitizing
A summary of survey results is available, as well as key findings.


Survey Methodology

The survey was open from February 15 through April 30, 2018 and was distributed via electronic link through emails, Oregon Heritage Listserv announcements, and social media. Additionally, some 440 paper copies of the survey were sent to heritage organizations with a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Oregon Heritage Mentor Corps Mentors were trained on the background of the project and encouraged to use their personal connections to distribute the link to organizations in their region. Sixty-two surveys were returned via mail.

A copy of the survey can be found here.

For the purpose of the survey, digital collections were defined as cultural heritage materials that have been scanned (like photographs, postcards, court records, or letters) or that originate in digital form (like digital photos or oral histories recorded digitally). Digital Collections include the type of content you'll find in Washington Rural Heritage and Oregon Digital. They do not include published digital content (like eBooks).


Collaborative Partnership

Oregon Heritage has been working in partnership with the State Library of Oregon, Washington State Library, and Orbis Cascade Alliance as part of an ongoing collaboration to identify regional opportunities for digitization efforts. This partnership emerged from the 2015 Northwest Digital Summit, which identified overall gaps in support for digital collections at heritage organizations in Oregon and Washington. Based on the report from the summit, the groups worked together in 2016-2017 to develop standards, documentation, and training.

In 2018, Washington State Libraries conducted a survey with 10 of the same questions as the Survey of Digital Heritage Collections in Oregon. A summary of both Oregon and Washington results can be found here.