Launching the Digital Production Lab: Part 1

October 15, 2019

By Laura Cray and Robert Warren


In the summer of 2019, the Oregon Historical Society (OHS) hit an exciting milestone with the completion of our new Digital Production Lab (DPL). The DPL is part of the OHS FORWARD! campaign, a multi-year capital campaign that funded the creation of our new cornerstone exhibit, Experience Oregon; is helping to expand access to collections by investing in infrastructure for our “Digital Vault”; and will soon support the extensive renovation of the research library.

The DPL, a critical part of the Digital Vault initiative, is a centralized, state-of-the-art facility for digitizing photographs and paper-based documents of all sizes. Housed at OHS’s offsite collections storage facility, this new space allows our digital collections staff to accurately capture the finest details in our unique archival collections. The DPL expands OHS Research Library staff’s capacity to create digital access to challenging formats, such as photographic negatives, architectural plans, maps, and ledgers.

In this “Two Minute Take,” Dear Oregon takes you behind the scenes of the DPL — a space not accessible to the public — with Digital Services Librarian Laura Cray and Digital Services Photographer Robert Warren. Cray and Warren talk about the renovation process and explain the important technical considerations that went into the design. From matte gray paint and adjustable, color-accurate lighting, to flexible studio spaces and climate control, the DPL’s design provides the best conditions for archival photography and collections care. Warren also demonstrates how the new iXG 100mp camera and Digital Transitions ATOM system captures collection items such as bound materials and photographic negatives. Many of the items imaged in the DPL will be added to OHS Digital Collections for public access, so be sure to check the website often for new collections going online.

Want to know more about what happens in the DPL? Stay tuned for the second video in our DPL behind the scenes series, where we explore what it takes for our digital collections team to capture large-format materials.

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