Oregon Encyclopedia Project
The Oregon Encyclopedia, a partnership of Portland State University, the Oregon Council of Teachers of English, and the Oregon Historical Society, and a project of the Oregon Sesquicentennial Celebration, is a comprehensive and authoritative compendium of information about Oregon's history and culture. The Encyclopedia grows each week to include:
Hundreds of entries and essays on Oregon subjects
Coverage of significant people, events, places, institutions, and more, from 10,000 years ago to the present
Essays and entries on ethnic groups and communities throughout Oregon's history
Entries on art, architecture, literature, performing arts, music, and popular culture
Hundreds of images, documents, and maps
Essays that add new perspective to issues and events
Special sections for teachers and students
The Oregon Encyclopedia has three senior editors, an experienced editorial staff, and twenty-six specialists from across the state. All entries and essays are written by knowledgeable authors, reviewed by experts, and authorized by editors and fact-checkers to ensure accuracy. The web site grows each week, providing new entries and resources and describing ways for all Oregonians to contribute.
Oregon's history and culture are dynamic, and The Encyclopedia is designed to expand and grow as new material is developed and new web-based features are created. Through its web site and in communities and classrooms across the state, The Oregon Encyclopedia will be the authoritative and creative resource on all things Oregon—a substantive and lasting recognition of the state's sesquicentennial.
The Oregon Encyclopedia Project began in 2005, when William Lang, Christopher Zinn, and Marianne Keddington-Lang sketched out a general plan for the compilation and publication of a one-volume Oregon Encyclopedia of History & Culture. By 2006, the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and the History Department at Portland State University had agreed to support the development of the project, including support for graduate students to work on the project. In 2007, with initial work completed, including organization of an Editorial Advisory Board and compilation of several thousand potential entry topics, OE received support from Oregon Cultural Trust, Oregon Historical Society, and PSU’s President’s Office to launch the work of the project. By 2007, the project’s volunteer staff included three Editors-in-Chief (William Lang, Ulrich Hardt, and Linda Tamura), a Managing Editor (Marianne Keddington-Lang), and a 23-member Editorial Advisory Board, with representation of most sections of Oregon and a broad range of special knowledge. An experienced development specialist, Sherry Manning, helped outline a fundraising plan.
With significant financial support from the Chancellor’s Office of the Oregon University System and from Oregon Council for the Humanities, OE began a series of community meetings around the state to engage local experts and interested citizens in expanding the contents of the Encyclopedia. OE also decided to commit to a fully online publishing effort rather than a one-volume print publication. Since 2008, Will Garrick, Manager of Academic and Research Computing in PSU’s Office of Information Technology, has directed the construction of OEP’s website. The website design includes complex editorial and review procedures that are fully online, making the project paperless. The process involved multiple steps, from selection of entry topics to fact checking, expert review, editing, and final publication. Funding supported hiring two part-time positions—Data Manager (Nicholas Johnson) and Editorial Coordinator (Peggy Lindquist). PSU graduate students that took on fact-checking and assigned research tasks include: Val Ballestrem, Heather Burmeister, Lucy Jensen, Amy Platt, Don Sederstrom, Emily Stuckman, Melissa Swank, and John Swann.
In 2008, Oregon Council of the Teachers of English [OCTE] joined OE as the third project partner, along with Oregon Historical Society [OHS] and PSU. In addition to an ongoing financial contribution to OEP, OCTE has secured funding for the Encyclopedia from Oregon Heritage Commission and the federal Library Services & Technology Act [LSTA], which is administered by the Oregon State Library. Willamette University also contributed financial support annually for the Encyclopedia (2009-2012) and has hosted one of the two annual OEP Editorial Board meetings; the other meeting convenes at PSU. OHS makes available editorial office space and cost-free use of its image holdings. PSU contributes support for all IT work on the Encyclopedia website, funding for graduate student labor, and work space. In addition, PSU’s Department of History has made OE an important part of its Public History curriculum.
By 2009, OE employed 1.5 FTE, with grant funding, OCTE contributions, PSU financial support, and donations from citizens. James Hillegas [2009-2011] served as Image and Editorial Coordinator, Amy Platt developed community programs as Project Relations Coordinator, and Tania Hyatt-Evenson handled media relations and grant research as Community Relations and Outreach Coordinator. LSTA grant-funded projects included community meetings throughout the state, and through a partnership with McMenamins Pubs, OE presented “OE History Nights” at Mission Theater, Cornelius Pass Roadhouse, and Edgefield in the Portland Metro area, and Old St. Francis Pub in Bend. In 2012, PSU’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences ceased direct financial support for OEP. Oregon Historical Society became the home of OE in 2013, with hiring of a Project Manager for OEP.
The OEP staff includes: Ulrich Hardt, Jeff LaLande, & Linda Tamura, Editors-in-Chief; Marianne Keddingtion-Lang, Managing Editor; Amy Platt, Project Manager, and, Tania-Hyatt-Evenson, Image and Editorial Coordinator.