On January 2, 2015, the Oklahoma Historical Society launched an updated version of the popular Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, according to Dr. Bob Blackburn, OHS executive director. The internet resource is accessible at the OHS website, www.okhistory.org, by clicking on the “Encyclopedia” link on the Publications page. Nearly 1,000 of 2,466 original encyclopedia articles have been updated, and several hundred more will be prepared and added in the future, Blackburn said. The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture joins the historical society’s ever-increasing set of online research resources for historians, genealogists, students, teachers and the public.
According to Dr. Dianna Everett, editor and project manager since 1998, the encyclopedia is a reference work produced between 1999 and 2009 with funding from OHS and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). “NEH promoted a nationwide effort to produce 50 state encyclopedias, and Oklahoma was the sixth state to be funded and to release its book. Four OHS staff historians and 550 scholars at universities and other historical societies produced the research and writing. The book, in two volumes, was published in 2009. It’s still available for purchase,” she said.
After the encyclopedia appeared in print, for a few years it also was carried on a host website at a university. In 2013 the OHS Board of Directors decided that the book’s content would be better distributed through the historical society’s own website, where it could be linked easily to other OHS online resources. “A researcher who visits the OHS website finds a huge assortment of information available on Oklahoma history,” said Blackburn. In the future, past issues of The Chronicles of Oklahoma also will be available on the OHS website.
“We believe the website we launched in January 2015 will make the online encyclopedia much more attractive and more useable,” Everett said. “While visitors are reading encyclopedia articles at OHS online, other online resources are just a click away. Each encyclopedia article includes a bibliography, and almost all the bibliographies refer the reader to resources like digitized newspapers at the Gateway to Oklahoma History, the National Register of Historic Places, and the Indian history and genealogy documents on the OHS Research Center’s web pages.”
In the immediate future the encyclopedia staff will be adding new content that ultimately will total several hundred entries. Updated U.S. Census figures from 2010 have been added to more than 560 articles on incorporated towns. Biographies were updated by adding dates of death. New photographs were added from the OHS Research Center’s photo collections. In the future, several hundred new articles will be written and added, beginning with the histories of more than a dozen towns that have been incorporated since 1997.
For more information about the online Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, please contact Dianna Everett at firstname.lastname@example.org.