WOU’s Straub Collection Gains State’s Recognition; Highlights Added to State’s Own Exhibit

Erin Passehl, Digital Collections Librarian and University Archivist at Western Oregon University, has created a beautiful and fascinating record of an important chapter in Oregon coastal conservation: The Robert W. Straub Oregon Beaches Collection.   In fact, the State of Oregon, after discovering the images through Digital Commons@WOU, added highlights from the collection in its own web exhibit, Protecting Oregon Beaches: 1913-2013.

Erin had the daunting task of processing and digitizing a selection of materials from the university’s large collection of former Oregon Governor Robert Straub’s personal papers, photographs, video recordings, and other items (comprising 50 boxes and 40 linear feet). Fortunately, with a platform in place for collecting and publishing such diverse materials, Erin was able to focus her energy on curating a manageable selection to showcase in Digital Commons@WOU. Thinking not only as an archivist and a digital collections specialist, but also as a curator and a marketer, she focused on a topic of immediate interest and value to the local community: Oregon’s beaches and Governor Straub’s work with coastal conservation. In addition, she targeted different types of objects—including government documents, photographs, video interviews, and even a book of children’s drawings—to create a compelling user experience and appeal to a broad audience.

The result of Erin’s careful curation is a collection that is drawing a wide readership and providing researchers with an invaluable record of Oregon’s leadership in coastal conservation.

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Robert W. Straub Oregon Beaches Collection - Western Oregon University Research - Digital Commons@WOU