The Southern Oregon Digital Archives (SODA), funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, is a digitized collection of items pertaining to the ecology and native peoples of the Southern Oregon region. Since July 2001, over 1300 federal, state, and local documents held by the Southern Oregon University Library have been digitized. Also included are unpublished documents that are not easily accessible to the public and materials on loan from other institutions. SODA currently consists of two data collections: the Southern Oregon Bioregions Collection and the First Nations Tribal Collection.
Because of the diversity of the area, the Southern Oregon Bioregions Collection is valuable to those interested in ecology and environmental issues. According to the SODA Web site, the region is home to thousands of plant species, four mountain ranges and five river drainages. The collection contains documents such as plant and animal studies, watershed assessments, environmental impact statements, and county land use studies.
The First Nations Tribal Collection is useful for the information it contains regarding the history, language, culture and folklore of the Native Americans from this area. The SODA Project worked with area tribes to identify appropriate materials for inclusion in the database. In addition to documents from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, other items include treaties, congressional hearings, monographs and journal articles, and specialized sources such as tribal language dictionaries.
Materials in both collections are browseable by title or author. Searching the databases defaults to title, author, subject, year and keyword, but search options can be modified to include almost any field in the database as well as some more sophisticated options. Advanced options may be confusing for novice users, but the default options should be sufficient for most of those users.
The overall design of the site is well done and easy to navigate. Help screens are useful, although some of the explanatory language has too much jargon. The processes that went into the development of the archives are well documented, possibly because the project was the product of a grant. "Technical Aspects" lists all of the hardware and software used in the development of the project, as well as overviews of the processes involved. The credits page acknowledges designers, programmers and others involved in the development. There is also an effort to acknowledge copyright and include all of the documentations and permissions for resources contained and images used.