Since the mid-nineteenth century, public health professionals have collected data about large populations to understand problems, and make changes that improve people's lives. A wealth of historical data on public health is found in OHSU Library, particularly its Historical Collections & Archives, which contain original studies, surveys, reports, and other records of public health in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Digitizing these archival collections makes data accessible to new generations of researchers. The records include public health surveys, early medical journals, records of the People’s Institute and Portland Free Dispensary, papers from the early career of Dr. Esther Pohl Lovejoy, records of state institutions, and more.
Public Health in Oregon: Discovering Historical Data provides previously hidden data in machine-readable formats for use by today's researchers. Items can be viewed and browsed from this page, or searched to find more specific materials via the search bar on the left side of the screen. While it is not currently possible to search only for files with data transcriptions, the majority of ledgers, annual reports, and public health surveys have transcriptions attached, as well as many other files.
For the most part, only structured data was transcribed, such as data tables, patient information ledgers, and research findings. Annual reports and similar items also often contain transcribed data regarding membership, attendance, and results of initiatives. Data transcriptions are available directly below the record's full PDF.
Work on this project is supported in whole or in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Oregon State Library. For more context, visit this narrative historical exhibit.
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