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2006 Gregath Library Event - Part 2:
Using the Oklahoma History Center (OHS) to expand services

Public librarians and tribal historians from all over green country arrived in Miami Wednesday for a day of information on how to use the Oklahoma History Center to expand their patron services at their own repositories. The Gregath Publishing Company concluded its 2006 professional series by having William Welge, Director of the Research Division, Oklahoma History Center, Oklahoma City for an informative seminar, September 20, 2006.  

Welge, began the day with a brief explanation of what can be found at his facility in the Oklahoma Historical Society Research Division. The virtual tour revealed holdings that include 6,000 oral histories, 15,000 historical maps (concentrated on eastern Oklahoma), 5 million photographs, 3.5 million Indian records covering 66 of the 67 “original” Oklahoma tribes, over 11 million lineal feet of film and video, 9 million pages of manuscripts, and their Oklahoma newspaper project which includes 33 million pages of newspapers dating back to 1844. In the new OHC, 80% of their books are in public stacks. This includes telephone and city directories as well as reference books previously housed in the staff area. 

Of importance to all professionals in this field, Welge briefly touched on the customer/patron issue of preservation verses access. This sparked an explanation as to why the facility archives for use primarily through microfilm, rather than un-proven digital means. He also stressed the importance of alternate records in genealogical research such as tribal election records to augment or replace tribal census records when not available. All present agreed that a good knowledge of social and general history is invaluable to any researcher. 

OHC is re-cataloging their holdings to archive a full online listing, available to any patron. This Cuadra Star Catalog System (OPAC) is available now to interested parties. The division is still in the process of adding items into the database. Currently information found about the state collection is at the box level. Eventually, the Cuadra system will include information about what is found in individual files in the archival box system. Photographs and oral histories will also be included in this remote access service. A dynamic and growing research repository, it is further benefiting from this re-cataloging by finding additional information already in storage. 

Oklahoma information professionals who took this opportunity to improve what their home repositories can provide, by taking advantage of what the Oklahoma History Center and it’s staff have to offer, included Cynthia Montgomery, Bartlesville Public Local and Family History Library, Bartlesville; Donna Clark, Grace Puffinbarger, and Teresa Allcorn, Talbot Library and Museum, Colcord; Certified Genealogist Gene Norris, Roy Hamilton, and Benjamin Chasenah, Cherokee National Historical Society, Tahlequah; Robin Dushane, Eastern Shawnee Tribe, Seneca; Fannie Barnett, Muskogee-Creek Nation Cultural Preservation, Okmulgee. 

Page Last Updated: October 12, 2018

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