I have often written about the many ways I am delighted to share the history of this wonderful place. Often the sharing has to do with advanced technology. Because of scanners and the internet I am able to share a great deal more than would have been the case decades ago. This posting is about a project that will go a long way toward increased sharing.
Some years ago for the first Big Bash, I pulled the bound issues of the Bachelor, our student newspaper, in case anyone was interested. A group of three alums walked in, just for a look around, and I offered them the Bachelors from their years here. They started looking through them and suddenly they were 20 again, laughing and sharing reminiscences from 50 years ago.
As I thought about this little piece of magic I had witnessed, I had a second encounter with the Bachelors from long ago. A professor brought his freshman tutorial class in to work with the Bachelors for a writing assignment. We spoke about being exceedingly careful with these old papers and for the most part, the students were very careful. Yet when they left the floor was simply covered with little shreds of paper. At that point, I limited broad access to our rolls of microfilm. It was clear that a sound preservation and a reliable access strategy were needed.
While at a conference of the Society of American Archivists I saw a company that was doing just what we needed done, digitizing and serving over the internet large runs of student newspapers. Of course, a project like this would be costly so for the next several years I spoke with everyone I could about how wonderful it would be to have this for the Wabash family. Although it has been a long time coming, I am so pleased to announce the most incredible project of my career at Wabash (so far:~) and my delight at its debut.
As of today, members of the Wabash family (alumni, students, faculty and staff) can now log-on and search, browse or just wander aimlessly through over 100 years of The Bachelor, our student newspaper. Here is a link to the log-in page:
In a project entirely funded by Jon and Andrea Pactor, the whole run of our Bachelor is now entirely searchable. To fully understand what an incredible gift we have been given, let’s run a test question through the project and see the results…Okay, here is a question that I have had on more than one occasion, “Where did our motto, ‘Wabash Always Fights!’ originate?”So, I log onto e-services with my user name and password and I see this screen…
Now I have to pause here and tell you that for once, I really did stop at this screen and follow the tutorial and I would highly recommend that you do this as well. There are settings that you will want/need to adjust and it is also a very good way to understand all that this project can do. In terms of searching capabilities it is simply amazing!
Back to our question about Wabash Always Fights…I enter this as a phrase and because I know that this phrase is pretty old I select the 1910s for a date and ask for a search of all dates in that set…
I am presented with several hundred results…but I find the one I am after click on it and a PDF of that page opens
I can then enlarge the page for reading, save it on my computer or print it. I would encourage you to play with this project and see what you can find…What if you were interested in Commencement of 1958? Just enter that term and that year and it bounces you right to the PDF and suddenly I see the list of men who graduated that year, the speaker, who won honors, everything I wanted to know about Commencement of 1958.
In short, a whole world of history opens to our Wabash family and life here in the Archives will never quite be the same! Many thanks to our good donors the Pactors, to Jeff Ruprecht at ArcaSearch for his unflagging optimism, and to Joe Emmick for his patience with my dogged insistence that this was the right project for Dear Old Wabash…Enjoy!
Best,Beth Swift Archivist Wabash College