Boise State University Special Collections and Archives, with the assistance of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, has joined the Northwest Digital Archives, also known as NWDA. The NWDA database provides enhanced access to archival collections and facilitates collaboration with archives, libraries, and museums in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska. Boise State has joined the ranks of over 35 other archives in the Pacific Northwest Region and, at the time of this writing, have 132 searchable finding aids on the NWDA website.
In addition to the Finding Aids which already existed on the Special Collections website, there is a wealth of new information that is now available online. For example, the research files of the Herstory Calendars of the 1980s, which contain biographical material about over 500 women of the Pacific Northwest: from Dorothy Arzner, motion picture director of California; to Emma Russell Yearian, sheep rancher of Idaho.
The NWDA project has made it possible to post full-text finding aids with detailed folder-level and sometimes item-level description for some of our largest collections, including the 776 linear feet of papers from Idaho’s four-term Senator and 1976 presidential candidate Frank Church as well as former Idaho governor and Secretary of the Interior Cecil Andrus, Senator Larry LaRocco, and former Senator and Governor Len Jordan.
One real world example of the advantage of having online Finding Aids is a past query for a Congressional committee report about Bangladesh’s independence titled “The Road to Jessore.” This report has not been published by the United States Superintendent of Documents or the Congressional Information Service, and no copies can be found in the OCLC’s WorldCat, the worldwide library. However, this unpublished report is available in the Frank Church Papers and easily findable by entering ‘Jessore’ in the search box of NWDA or by entering ‘“Road to Jessore” “Frank Church”’ into Google. This is the only discoverable - and possibly the only surviving - copy of this important document.
The free Northwest Digital Archives database is located at http://nwda.orbiscascade.org . To find BSU Special Collections and Archives items, pull down the “Boise State University” option from the Advanced Search.
Archivist, Albertsons Library Special Collections and Archives