Online Northwest is a one-day conference focusing on topics that intersect libraries, technology and culture. It was 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 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
Aja Bettencourt McCarthy (2018 co-chair)
Oregon Institute of Technology Library
Robert Monge (2018 co-chair)
Western Oregon University, Hamersly Library
University of Oregon
Oregon State University, The Valley Library
Eastern Oregon University Library
Portland State University
Oregon Health Sciences University