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OSU Disability Archives: Disability History in the Special Collections and Archives Research Center: FAQs

The OSU DisArchives serve as a resource to share the stories of disabled people with connections to the OSU and Corvallis communities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Don't see your question here? Please reach out to Natalia Fernández for help with the LibGuide and more information about the DisArchives.

What are the OSU Disability Archives?

The Disability Archives, or DisArchives for short, contain University records, oral histories, manuscript collections, and other materials related to the histories of disabled people at OSU and in Corvallis. The DisArchives are part of the OSU Valley Library's Special Collections and Archives Research Center (SCARC).

What is the Special Collections and Archives Research Center?

The Oregon State University Libraries Special Collections and Archives Research Center (SCARC) maintains and makes available the University's unique collections of manuscripts, archives, photographs, and books. Its holdings include collections pertaining to the history of science and technology; the historical records of OSU and papers of its prominent faculty members; cultural and ethnic groups in Oregon; and natural resources in the Pacific Northwest, especially agriculture and forestry. For more information, visit our About Us page.

Where are the Disability Archives located?

You can physically visit the DisArchives by scheduling an appointment with SCARC. Appointments must be made at least one business day in advance, and preliminary Zoom consultations are recommended prior to setting appointments.

How can I get involved with the Disability Archives?

There are several ways OSU and Corvallis community members can get involved with the DisArchives! If you are interested in contributing materials to the collection and/or participating in an oral history project, please visit our "Contribute" page. If you are interested in research with the DisArchives, please contact Natalia Fernández.

What is the purpose of the "content notes" that appear on some pages?

Some pages, such as the Collections and Records tab, contain "content notes." Content notes serve a similar purpose to content warnings or trigger warnings. They are short descriptions of potentially sensitive material that is activating, triggering, or upsetting to some people. Content notes act as signposts for such sensitive material so that we can make more informed choices about if and how we want to engage with it. A common example of a content note that we encounter in everyday life are maturity ratings for movies and TV shows. Most of the content notes on the DisArchives LibGuide point out materials that are sanist/ableist. For example, ableist slurs such as the "R" word or ableist descriptions of disabled people as "burdensome" or "unintelligent" can generate strong negative feelings for disabled visitors to this LibGuide. Content notes can help assuage strong negative feelings by preparing visitors for engaging such content.

For more information, you can check out the Special Collections and Archives Research Center "Frequently Asked Questions."

What is OSU's Commitment to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?

July 26, 2021

Dear OSU Faculty, Staff and Students,

Oregon State University joins the nation today in celebrating the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

This landmark 1990 legislation initiated necessary and important change across the nation by prohibiting discrimination against individuals with disabilities, and supporting access and equal opportunity in employment, public accommodations and services, and inclusion for disabled individuals.

At Oregon State, we honor and celebrate people with disabilities as part of the diversity and strength of our community. We realize we must work daily to advance equity and inclusion to assure that all people including those with disabilities feel welcome and are able to be successful within OSU, not only on our campuses in Corvallis and Bend, but in our centers, offices and programs offered statewide.

Recent activities within the university highlight this commitment:

  • OSU hosted a month-long ADA30 celebratory symposium in spring, bringing together more than 500 disabled and nondisabled participants from artistic, scholarly, activist and other community groups from within and beyond the university.

  • A set of university disability archives has been created to share stories of disabled people in the OSU community.

  • The Gladys Valley Marine Studies Building at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport is a first-of-its-kind building in the nation that is designed to assist individuals with disabilities in evacuating during tsunami emergencies.

  • Planning and construction of the OSU-Cascades campus prioritizes universal design and disability inclusion. Meanwhile, construction occurring this summer around Community Hall on the Corvallis campus will greatly improve access along the sloped walkways leading from the Pharmacy Building and Furman Hall.

  • The university’s IT Strategic Plan 2023 seeks to redesign the OSU digital experience to provide students with more personalized, accessible and equitable services. As well, here is a link to an effort within OSU to advance web accessibility.

This fall, OSU will convene an ADA31 task force to assess university policies, programs and systems that identify and remedy barriers to provide for greater disability inclusion and access. The task force will focus on the growing importance of information technology accessibility in serving OSU’s mission of teaching, research and outreach programming. Listening and discussion sessions, online surveys and other opportunities will be offered during fall term so all may share their thoughts and experiences.

While we do this work, we must be ever diligent in understanding and addressing the barriers that remain for disabled individuals to have full and equal access. Let’s advance this work together as a truly welcoming and inclusive community.


Becky Johnson, Interim President