Friday, July 31, 2015

New Accessions: Knight Cancer Institute Video Collection

Dear Readers,
On this scorching day in the PNW I'd like to bring you something new and interesting from our recent acquisitions.  In the first month of my time here as the OHSU Archivist I met with staff from the Knight Cancer Institute to assist them in digitizing their video collection of Brian Druker/Gleevec and Lance Armstrong -related materials.  Many of these were languishing on VHS tapes which are prone to rapid disintegration and are not necessarily easy to migrate to a new more user-friendly format.  KCI's concern was that valuable information on Druker and Gleevec would be lost if these VHS tapes disintegrated to the point of actual content loss.  Over the course of the next few weeks I drafted some specifications for the creation of archival-quality digital surrogates and helped the KCI staff in selecting a vendor.

OHSU in the news: discussion of cancer and Lance Armstrong

    Before continuing with the "fun" part of the story I'd like to pause and give you some more information on digitization of audio visual materials.  There have been a number of devices and services that have popped in the American landscape in the last 15 years that can make quick copies of VHS tapes and other legacy formats (cassettes, etc.), everything from dual cassette decks with a USB interface to DVD/VHS combination machines that rip from one and burn to other entirely internally. There are also a wide variety of cables that can be used to hook your old VCR up to a modern computer and with programs like Audacity, you can control more of the of digitization parameters.  Things such as bit-depth, sampling rate, aspect ratio and frame-rate all have a bearing on the quality of the reproduction and its subsequent usefulness as an access copy.  Archival standards for this type of digitization are typically much higher than consumer grade machines built for transferring analog signals to 1's and 0's in a coherent and useful fashion.  Archival standards go above the basic requirements for reproduction so that they can be used as investigatory tools.  Consider that we typically scan print materials at 600 dots-per-inch as opposed to the standard access copy of 300 DPI.  The reason is that with the higher resolution scan we can grab detail that would require a physical medium to investigate.  For instance, if you want to easily zoom into view words or numbers in a faded photograph or adjust the contrast to make things "appear" you would want a high-resolution scan that gives you the highest level of document information in order for these adjustments to be useful.  The same is true for digitizing audio visual materials.  We go above the threshold so that in investigating secondary or tertiary aspects of the recording we have the maximum, currently available means for doing this.  The last thing we want to do, especially with magnetic tape-based materials is to re-scan or re-digitize--which can cause further unwanted degradation to the materials itself.

Aerial of OHSU*

    Alright, enough of Max waxing archival.  Here's a list of the videos that were digitized:

    - Lance Armstrong taped 9-8-99
    - OHSU Cancer - Advancing Towards the Cure
    - LIVESTRONG Ride Portland 2005
    - LAF Press Conference 6-29-05
    - OHSU Cancer Breakthrough Video News Release
    - Dr. Druker Compilation Tape
    - ABC News 20-20 STI-571 Dr Brian Druker 2-11-00
    - Druker
    - Brandon Hayes-Lattin Spirit of the NW
    - Druker News Seg

(The titles were taken directly from the VHS tapes)

Druker in the lab
Many of the videos are compilations of local newscasts and interviews, and mostly local to Portland, Oregon.  For access to these videos, please contact HC&A.
As always,

*You all should know how much I love aerials by now. =)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

80+ OHSU oral history transcripts now available online!

As of last week, we now have over 80 transcripts from the OHSU Oral History Program available through OHSU Digital Commons! That amounts to hundreds of pages of personal recollections about OHSU history, all searchable and downloadable as PDFs.

This project was started by Kathleen Feduccia, a longtime HC&A volunteer who completed her MLS degree, and is now working for Clackamas County Law Library.  This spring, HC&A student assistant Crystal Rodgers picked up where Kathleen left off, converting Word documents to PDFs, creating consistent metadata, and uploading the transcripts to Digital Commons. Archives staff will keep adding new transcripts as they're finalized.

This project is the culmination of several years of effort to make these transcripts more accessible to researchers everywhere. And as you can see from the interactive map at the bottom of the collection home page, people all over the world are finding them.

You can also consult our complete list of interviews to see everyone we've talked to for this program. Interview transcripts and recordings are still available for checkout from OHSU's Main Library, and DVD copies of interviews are also available for a fee.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Meet 1962's Dr. "Marquam"

Did you know that we had our very own comic book hero back in the early 1960s? 

 "Dr. 'Marquam'" starred in his very own comic story in the February 1962 issue of University of Oregon Medical School's publication, "What's Going On," in which readers ride along with the good doctor on his day of work. Amidst concerns about rapidly growing enrollment and its effect on quality instruction, the comic addresses the difficulty in pinning down an average student/teacher ratio at UOMS. The comic makes the case that throughout the day, medical school faculty instructed students in a variety of situations and group sizes.

Dr. Marquam encounters a variety of educational and patient care situations throughout his day. 

The panels also drive home the image of UOMS faculty as committed clinicians and dedicated instructors: Dr. Marquam arrives at 6:45 am, leaves around 5:30 pm, and then comes back to campus to consult on a case at 9:30 pm!

Unsurprisingly, this 1962 representation of a typical clinician and faculty member is as a white middle-aged male (ostensibly married, or at least can spend 10-15 hours in a day on campus without worrying about childcare for a briefly-mentioned son). I would love to see a new 2015 installment of "Dr. Marquam" that updates the archetype to reflect the broad diversity of OHSU faculty while reprising the goal of demonstrating the talent and dedication of our educators!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

New Accessions: Academic and Student Affairs Records

Folks, I have an accession here for you today that is so hot it will give you blisters--Ladies and Gentlemen, Meine Damen und Herren for your research pleasure I present to you: The Academic and Student Affairs Records!

Last week I was visited by Bob Oster from the Provost's Office.  Bob is a great support of HC&A and his role within the Provost's Office provides a solid pipeline of materials to the archives.  Most recently Bob dropped off a box that somehow contained a plethora of records which I had been seeking since starting here last August.

Promotion and Tenure documents
This records group, which is only a single linear foot (so far--give me time), contains a wide variety of materials primarily from the 1980's through the mid 90's and covering such topics as Promotion and Tenure, Continuing Education Brochures, Graduate Council Bylaws (School of Medicine), School of Medicine Curriculum, Meeting Minutes for the Faculty Senate and a few strategic plans.*

Proposal for a PHD in Neuroscience and Neuroscience Graduate Program
One wonders why I am so excited by this acquisition?  There are a number of reasons the most salient of which (at least to me) is that these records show the development of higher education in North America in general and the growth of higher education in the Pacific Northwest specifically.  Future generations will want to know more about how we viewed certain scientific disciplines, where we put our focus on certain topics throughout the years, and lastly, with items like meeting minutes how decisions were made at this highest levels of the University.

Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes
In particular, we acquired, from the Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes a copy of the meetings leading up to the vote by the Faculty Senate to become a public corporation in 1994.  Those minutes and the discussions surrounding this decision are critical for understanding one of the largest operational, fiscal, and administrative changes OHSU has ever undergone.

Oh yeah, and have I mentioned that I am diligently working as one of the members of the Library's Strategic Planning Task Force?  Well, imagine our surprise when within this acquisition were not one, but two strategic plans (one for OHSU, a draft version for discussion and one for the Oregon System of Higher Education)!  It's like some kind of archival gold mine.  The smoking gun or the silver bullet as it is referred to from time to time.  This is when you find exactly what you were looking for, in the form you anticipate and it solves a major problem or need.  In a sense, both the OHSU strategic plan draft and the Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes were like an accession of silver bullets.  Really useful both internally for our staff and, most importantly, our patrons.

Who doesn't like a well written strategic plan?
I was really hoping to show off something weird or gruesome, but this week I only bring records.  I would like to offer that this fits the archives bill very well and is a thrilling acquisition.  So if these records sound like they are your "smoking gun" or if you have a serious interest in academic administration, then we have a collection for you!**

As always, even if not fully processed, these records are available for inspection and research upon request.

All the best,

*Not a comprehensive list of collection contents
**I know, I called it a "collection" but technically it's a records group.

Friday, July 17, 2015

UOMS Hoops History

Like other NBA fans, now that the playoffs, the Finals, and free agency season are all over, I've been stuck waiting out the long basketball drought before the regular season starts (and praying no more Blazers rookies hurt themselves in the summer league!). Luckily, my basketball fever was recently satiated thanks to our department Twitter...
My primary, unspoken question was obviously, "who is this cute kid in the bow tie?"
A few weeks ago, I tweeted this great image of basketball players from the University of Oregon Medical School and Dental School on the bench with a special guest, looking for more information or identification of the players. My request worked: Through Mark Kemball, HC&A friend and Director of Alumni Relations at the OHSU Foundation, we received some information from Dr. Mark Hattenhauer, Medicine Alumni Council President. He identified the gentleman on the far right in the "Dental" jersey as Dr. James Litchfield, a 1965 graduate of the School of Dentistry. 

The ID was useful in two ways: It gave us a positive identification of one of the players, and narrowed the image date down to a relatively small date range. Because of the narrowed date range, I was able to search for information in a selection of issues of "What's Going On," a bimonthly publication for faculty, staff, students, alumni and supporters of UOMS. Lo and behold, I found the February 1963 issue in which the image was published, accompanying an article about the new Student Activities building: 

The article identifies the player on the left as Jim Burns, UOMS sophmore, and confirms the player on the right as Dental School student Jim Litchfield. The two played together on the medical-dental varsity team (the medical and dental schools also played against one another, presumably below the varsity level). Between them sits Jim's son (and "number one fan") Steven. Below are several more images from the same year, including the original that the editors of "What's Going On" used for their cover: 
"Basketball ace" Jim Litchfield and teammates in a huddle, 1963
Freshman medical student Jack Gambee (42) and the medical-dental varsity team play unidentified Oregon State team

Looking at older issues, I learned that the regular University of Oregon Medical School team was known as the Medics and the Dental School team, the Yankers. The two had a little "Civil War" rivalry of their own. Here's the evidence in a "Sports Desk" item from the February 1958 "What's Going On":
Our own UOMS basketball rivalry! 

It turns out that the Medics had a history of victory: Checking the 1950s issues of "Report to the Alumni," I found the photograph of the 1955 City of Portland Metropolitan League champs, the UOMS Medics! The team went 14-0 in their season, competing against teams from colleges like George Fox, Reed, Concordia College, and the UOMS Dental School. I was also interested to learn that the basketball team was more than just a student affair, with Dr. James Lium, assistant professor of clinical anatomy acting as coach, and Dr. Hugh Anderson, resident in pathology acting as manager. At the time, the team was sponsored by the Alumni Association, to the tune of $110 per year. 

According to the "Report to the Alumni" article, the championship trophy was displayed in the Medical School Library (now our OHSU Auditorium/Old Library!) until the following season. 

I'll close with an image of your 1955 Metropolitan League champs, the Medics:
Lto R: Dave Sears, '58, Dick Brust, '58, Bob Haney, '58, Jerry Toole, '55, Bob Watson, '58, Bill Haney, '58, Dick Schultz, '58, Bob Neill, '55, and Coach James Lium, assistant professor of clinical pathology
Did you or a family member play basketball at UOMS? If you've got stories or souvenirs to share, we'd love to hear from you! Send me a line at