08 December 2005

Digital access to research documents of the US Forest Service

At the recent Oxford conference on 'frontiers in forest information', Bonnie Avery of Oregon State University (OSU) shared information on the university’s project to make some US Forest Service legacy documents available in full text through an institutional repository.

The project is a collaboration between OSU libraries, the USFS Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, and the OSU Wood Science and Engineering Faculty. It aims to digitize materials published by the Laboratory between 1919 and 1962, and to make them available to USFS, OSU and other interested people through a DSpace open access repository. It grew from the realization that the collective institutional memory on forestry and forest research in the USA is gradually diminishing as individuals retire, institutions re-organise, and specialized forest libraries and collections are broken up, merged or incorporated within wider services. It is urgent now that archival collections are digitized and made easy to access across the Internet.

This project focuses on important archival documents up to 1962. It is one of several projects that aim to improve access to archival and current forest research materials in the US. For current USFS documents, the TreeSearch database is regularly updated and includes research monographs published by the agency as well as papers written by its scientists but published by other organizations in their journals, conference proceedings, or books. It has all reports since January 2004 as well as some older materials. It is hoped that archival collections such as the one at OSU can be incorporated or linked to TreeSearch.

This is part of a series of short stories highlighting forest information initiatives showcased in the Oxford Forest Information Service centenary meeting.


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