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Last modified: Friday, June 6, 2008

IU launches Indiana history Web site

June 6, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- More than a century's worth of scholarship on Indiana history is now available on a free, searchable Web site created by the Indiana University Digital Library Program and the Indiana Magazine of History.

Designed as a resource that will appeal to readers ranging from schoolchildren to professional historians, the new online Indiana Magazine of History offers text and images of more than 40,000 pages of one of the nation's oldest historical journals. The magazine has been published at Indiana University Bloomington since 1913.

"For the first time, readers searching for names and topics in Indiana history can go directly to the pages of the magazine where those topics appear," says Indiana University Associate Professor Eric Sandweiss, editor of the magazine. "With the new online version, a reader can locate, study, and print even the most obscure references with the touch of a computer key."

Indiana Magazine of History

The site makes the highly popular magazine, from its first issue in 1905 through 2006, freely and widely available. It will be continually updated to include published material up to two years before the present date.

"This project is a prime example of how libraries and universities open their resources to the broader community," says Ruth Lilly University Dean of Libraries Patricia Steele. "Hoosiers, especially, will benefit from improved access to the magazine that offers unmatched insight to the history of their state."

A companion site to the online magazine offers lesson plans geared for primary- and secondary-school teachers. The lessons, drawn from primary sources published in the Indiana Magazine for History, examine Indiana events, personalities, and experiences from periods that include such milestones as the transition to statehood, the Civil War, and the Great Depression.

A particularly valuable component of the online magazine allows users to refine their searches at two levels: by article type (for example, articles and book reviews) and by features within those types (diaries, letters, and bibliographies). The collection also includes editorial material such as reviews, critical essays, and photographs.

Michelle Dalmau, of the IU Digital Library Program, says the project draws on the expertise gained by working on similar digital collections. "We've gained a good deal of experience making digital resources as useful as they can be to researchers," Dalmau says. "We learn which features will be most helpful to researchers, then work to provide them." The project involved scanning pages, creating text files and encoding them to make them searchable, and optimizing navigation to allow researchers to move from article to article and from full text to page images of the print journal.

Hoosier Boy

This woodcut by Brown County artist Gustave Baumann was published in 1912 as an illustration for James Whitcomb Riley's "All the Year Round."

Print-Quality Photo

Edited and published quarterly at Indiana University Bloomington, the Indiana Magazine of History features peer-reviewed entries that contribute to public understanding of the history of Indiana and the Midwest.

The Digital Library Program is a collaborative effort of the Indiana University Libraries, University Information Technology Services, and the university research faculty with leadership from the School of Library and Information Science and School of Informatics. This collaboration capitalizes on the institutional capabilities of Indiana University, focusing university resources on digital library services and projects that support the teaching and research of IU faculty, support the learning and research of IU students, and foster research about the digital library.

This project was supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act administered by the Indiana State Library.

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