Online Northwest is a one-day conference focusing on topics that intersect libraries, technology and culture. Presentations address technical, social, and policy issues associated with information technology, information management, and librarianship.
This conference is about the technologies that libraries use to manage, create and share information. It is for anyone who uses and interacts with information from librarians to programmers and system administrators
While technology often functions to exclude or surveil, the planning committee takes seriously the library’s role as a place for everyone. We recognize the Northwest’s history of racial exclusion, and work actively to center racial justice and inclusion in this conference. We also recognize the ways that technology can increase–or decrease–access for disabled and other marginalized people, and are interested in conference topics on this subject.
History of Online Northwest
The conference was originally created by the Oregon University System Library Council to help librarians around Oregon learn how to use early online searching tools. As information technology and librarians have increased in sophistication over the years, so has the conference.
The Online Northwest Conference (originally called Oregon Online) began in 1984, created by librarians at the nine schools of the Oregon State System of Higher Education (OSSHE) and the Inter-institutional Library Council (ILC). At the time, the members of the conference organizing committee were known as the OSSHE ILC Online Coordinators Committee. The Online Coordinators were involved in searching online databases, which were then only accessible by librarians with specialized technical knowledge in the arcane language of database searching. The conference was established as an opportunity for librarians across the OSSHE to share their knowledge and experience with the frequent technological changes in libraries. Conference presentations at Online Northwest have also been, and continue to be, an excellent professional development opportunity for librarians.
Around 1990 the name of the conference changed to Online Northwest, helping to attract librarians and other information professionals from Washington, Idaho, Montana, and northern California. The conference is regularly attended by librarians from higher education, as well as an increasing amount of librarians from public and special libraries. Over the years, the conference has evolved into one of the most-beloved library conferences in the region. Presentations address technical, social, and policy issues associated with information technology and librarianship.
In June 2015 the Oregon University System officially disbanded. As a result, the Online Northwest conference committee took a hiatus in 2016, using the time to explore options to continue the conference without OUS backing. Portland State University Library agreed to provide Online Northwest with logistical support and a home, beginning with the 2017 conference.
Program Planning Committee Members
Diana Castillo (2021 co-chair)
Oregon State University
Robert Monge (2021 co-chair)
Western Oregon University
Portland State University
University of Oregon
Eastern Oregon University