Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Oral history program update: Interviews with Dr. Gary Chiodo and Dr. David Rosenstein

On August 17th, we conducted two important interviews for the OHSU Oral History Program. The subjects of the interviews were Gary T. Chiodo, DMD, FACS and David Rosenstein, DMD, MPH. The interviews captured perspectives that are otherwise under-represented in our oral history interviews, such as community dentistry, the treatment of patients with HIV/AIDS in the 1980s-1990s, the emergence of Affirmative Action & Equal Opportunity in university policy and governance, and the evolution of diversity initiatives. A topical focus of the interviews was the Russell Street Dental Clinic, a public health facility in Northeast Portland, where both subjects spent much of their careers.

The two subjects, who have been friends and colleagues since the 1970s, took turns interviewing each other. Their camaraderie made for an especially open, frank, and humorous dialogue.

The interviews will result in video recordings and transcripts. Transcripts and recordings of interviews from the OHSU Oral History Program are added to the archives, and are available for checkout from the Main Library. HC&A volunteer Kathleen Feduccia is also adding transcript PDFs to a digital collection, with more on the way.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Edward J. Keenan, Ph.D. (1948-2014)

We were immensely saddened this week to learn that Ed Keenan, Ph.D. passed away suddenly on August 14th. Dr. Keenan was an influential and admired leader at the School of Medicine. He was devoted to students and medical education, and was honored with no less than four Excellence in Teaching awards. In the 1990s, he led a curriculum transformation and introduced important changes to the admissions process. His research interests included endocrine pharmacology, and establising prognosis of breast cancer using genetic markers.

Dr. Keenan was the founder and president of The Foundation for Medical Excellence, a public non-profit that seeks to advance quality health care and physician wellness. Records of TFME are held in HC&A.

In HC&A, Dr. Keenan was well-known to us for his interest in the history of medicine. I was honored to work with Dr. Keenan on the Steering Committee of the History of Medicine in Oregon Project. He was a lively and active participant, serving as an interviewer for many  of  the project's oral histories. In 2013, the project was moved under the auspices of TFME.

All of us in HC&A share in the grief felt by Dr. Keenan's many students, colleagues, and friends.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wellcome Library and Jisc announce UK Medical Heritage Library digitization project

Last week we learned that the Wellcome Library and the digital technology charity Jisc are teaming up with nine other U.K. institutions to digitize collections of rare 19th-century medical books.

The project aims to digitize over 30,000 rare books, comprising 15 million pages of content, over two years. The content will form a U.K. Medical Heritage Library, available on multiple platforms under an open license.

It's especially interesting to see that the title selected for digitization include not only 19th-century medical classics, but also ephemeral items such as pamphlets, books on topics such as phrenology that are now considered quackery, and others on sports, nutrition and other peripheral topics that are nonetheless essential to understanding the history of health and medicine.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Primary Sources in the Sciences at SAA

The Society of American Archivists Annual Meeting is coming up next week in Washington, D.C. Our orthodontics digitization work will be one of the projects presented at a Thursday morning session, "Primary Sources in the Sciences: Accessing the Past to Ensure Tomorrow's Discoveries."


We completed our initial scanning priorities for this project in June, and the project was awarded a no-cost extension. Student worker Ashley Ehmig is now editing metadata before we get our next assignment.

I'll be moderating the session, which will include audience discussion of how archives can better support research and teaching in the sciences (rather than in the history of those fields). The other panelists are Christina Fidler of the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, who will present the Grinnell Resurvey Project; and Wendy Wasman of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, presenting her work with K-12 education programs. This is a new and exciting area for archivists to discover, and we hope for a lively and productive exchange.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

"We'll Never Let You Retire!"

A little more than a month from now, we'll say goodbye to Karen Peterson, OHSU's archivist for 15 years. Preparing for Karen's retirement was a major undertaking for HC&A. Karen was our first professional archivist, and had a trove of historical and institutional knowledge in her head. It was terrifying to think that all of it could walk out the door with her on her last day of work!

If we were to have a successful archives program in the future, we had to have a strategy for sharing and documenting the important things that only Karen knew. That effort is now the topic of an article in a new book on archives management!


Anderson, Maija. “’We’ll Never Let You Retire!’: Creating a Culture of Knowledge Transfer.” In Management:Innovative Practices in Archives and Special Collections, edited by Kate Theimer. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, May 2014. 

The chapter is a case study of HC&A's preparations for Karen's retirement, which will conclude successfully as we bring our next archivist, Max Johnson, into the position. Effective knowledge transfer required not only Karen's full participation, but involvement from everyone in HC&A, and many staff across the library. We hope that what we learned will be useful to other archives planning similar transitions.