NewsPublic AffairsPolitics / October 9, 2013

UIndy Launches Online Mayoral Archives

Sam Klemet
UIndy Launches Online Mayoral Archives

The history of Indianapolis is being organized at a one-stop-shop on the Web.

The University of Indianapolis is digitizing and creating an online interface for its Mayoral Archive.

"All this didn't happen in a day.  It took the Pan Am Games, the International Sports Festival, the NCAA Final Four, a lot of things all built up incrementally over time," said former Mayor Bill Hudnut.  "The archives can show how that part of our history progressed from 1968 on to 2013."

The archives include 700 file boxes in storage containing documents, images, recordings and physical artifacts from the Richard Lugar, Hudnut and Stephen Goldsmith administrations.

One piece is an announcement sent in 1971 by then-Mayor Lugar on creating Market Square Arena.

"It was an opportunity to highlight what was to become an enormously important trend in our city, naming a sports capital of America and the world," Lugar said.  "We certainly always had had a great interest in sports, but now we were really in it for a takeoff that was very, very substantial and this caught the attention of the rest of nation."

"I am so grateful that the archives at UIndy will contain not only this letter, but likewise, a very large number of documents, letters, speeches, all the things that were a part of the eight years I had the privilege of serving as the Mayor of Indianapolis," he said.

The first portion of Mayoral Archives to be digitized is 600 items from Hudnut and Lugar on how the Colts moved from Baltimore to Indianapolis.  It is available online, now.

"For anybody in this room who is an undergraduate, the Colts have always been in Indianapolis," said Mayoral Archives Director, Ted Frantz. "So, the story of the Colts coming to Indianapolis is not one that many of them would think to ask.  So, we look forward to those opportunities."

UIndy hired Maine-based HistoryIT to digitize the archives. 

The process was funded primarily by a $2 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.  The southside university established a second Digital Innovation Lab to execute the project and serve as a Midwestern hub for product and client development.   The goal is to digitize the entire archive within the next year.

HistoryIT created 20 new jobs for the project, including 15 for students.

"We expect to grow this exponentially as we continue our work and put the 1.5 million pieces online.  This will become an opportunity for digital researchers at one level, it'll be an opportunity for historical researchers at another, it'll become an opportunity for our students," said UIndy President Robert Manuel.  "This is an exceptional example of collaborating, extending capabilities, and taking what we learn in the classroom and making it relevant to the real world."




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