For nearly 85 years, The Beacon has been telling the stories of students, professors, faculty and staff of the University of Portland. In each of those stories lies a piece of history and a glimpse into another time from the perspective of UP students. The Clark Library has received a grant to help preserve that history.
On Nov. 15, the Library received $12,720 from the Oregon Heritage Grant. This will be used to digitally archive all of The Beacon’s articles over the last eight decades. This will be both printed papers and digital articles. The Oregon Heritage Commission has given $379,785 in grants to 32 organizations this year for a variety of historical archiving, digitizing and restoration projects.
“We’ve got a digital services program here, and as part of that program, we have some initiatives built into it to digitize and to really tell the story of the University of Portland,” Digital Services Librarian Philip Vue said.
The library recently finished digitally archiving UP’s LOG yearbooks, which took nearly a year and a half to complete. Digitizing The Beacon will take around 15 months, but unlike the LOG, all of the physical copies of The Beacon will be scanned by a third party, Vue said. This will include all the printed papers from 1935 up until 2016 — when The Beacon went completely digital. The library will archive the digital articles already posted on The Beacon’s website.
When the articles are uploaded, users will have the ability to use keyword searches within the database. This will make searching for specific topics, years and people much easier than searching through the physical copies. Vue estimates that roughly 50,000 pages can be preserved when the digitizing is done.
“We’re the only institution with … copies of these,” Vue said. “If these were to ever get damaged or deteriorate over time we would have no other way of getting access to those.”
It will also be a resource for alumni and past staffers of The Beacon to see their work. For many, it will be the first time they will be able to access it online.
“I think a lot of past writers and past staffers and past photographers are really going to enjoy seeing their work and being able to show their children or show their family members, who may not have been able to access it previously,” Editor-in-Chief of The Beacon Claire Desmarais said.
The articles hold a variety of historical data, photos and information about the development of UP. They also tell the stories of individual people and their lives during times of conflict and change.
“The Beacon has been a witness to history,” Desmarais said. “It’s important because it’s part of UP history and it’s a part in the storytelling, and in talking about things that have happened on campus, especially big events and changes in policy, and just how the culture of UP has changed.”
Austin De Dios is a reporter for The Beacon. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.