Butler Digital History

Butler Digital History

This site has been put together collaboratively by Butler University students, library faculty, and staff. These exhibits and collections feature digitized items from Butler University Library.




Our Project:


The 50th anniversary of Irwin Library was the inspiration for creating a digital humanities website for Butler University. Our librarians built the first online exhibit using Omeka, featuring materials pulled from the archives of Irwin. Seeing the reception that was gained from an online audience, they saw the opportunity a digital humanities site could bring to Butler. In 2014 they applied for a grant to fund extra support of student curators to complete the research and site building process alongside them. The main purpose of this sight is to make Butler’s archived materials accessible to all while preserving their integrity through a digital format. The collaborators of this site want to show you more than historical pictures, we want to tell you the story behind them.


Why is it Important?

 Digital Humanities are an ever expanding project. The goal of this project is allow our undergraduates, whether student workers or in the classroom, to function as productive, collaborative scholars, using a platform that will allow them the freedom and flexibility to deliberately shape and present content for different audiences. This helps prepare students to function in a participatory and networked culture and allows them to demonstrate high levels of digital fluency. Beyond being competent readers, evaluators, and researchers, we want to give them the tools to be creators and innovators. For us, there are three things that inspired the creation of this site: Innovation, Student Passion, and Butler Value.


The site itself operates through the Omeka platform. This website builder allows collaborators to design and setup the web pages  to the way they see fit. Omeka has the capability to use short-codes for web design. Student curators are encouraged to pick a topic that interests them and propose their idea as a new exhibit for the site. They then explore this topic utilizing the University archive materials with the guidance of Librarians to answer the driving questions for the topic that they have chosen. Throughout creation of these web pages, students have been able to gain viable real-world experience, in research, computing, and innovation. 


Student Passion.

This project enhances the knowledge of these students driving passion and creating value for the work they are doing. Below are testimonials written by the students who worked on this project.
Rainie Grant: 

Being a student curator has given me the opportunity to gain skills that, as a political science, French and religious studies student, I would not have gained otherwise. I have found a new joy in web development, in writing CSS and HTML for our exhibit platform, and have renewed my love for history and the mystery of having to find information for an image about which I previously knew nothing.

Samantha Chalmers: 

I am very excited for this opportunity to utilize my passion for history in combination with skills that I have gained from my business courses here at Butler. I look forward to all of the history I will learn through this job and the skills I will gain that I can carry on into a job post graduation.  The goals I hope to accomplish in my time in this position are to develop a deeper knowledge of web design and coding in html javascript and css, develop an effective marketing plan that helps to promote the use of digital history archives at Butler, further develop my advanced research skills, and expand on my knowledge of the history of Butler, the Indianapolis community and other topics in history. I look forward to the contribution I can make to a future longstanding reference here at Butler.


Butler Value.



Butler libraries have created this site to tell the story of Butler University and the community that surrounds it. This site is meant to provoke conversations and questions that lead to a broader sense of knowledge and understanding. Butler encourages its students to seek out answers to scholarly questions in both  the classroom and the real-world. Butler libraries wants this site to serve as a leeway point for those questions and conversations. We hope that viewers of this site will take pride in the foundations of Butler University and the Indianapolis community.


Create your own user feedback survey

This site is funded through Butler University’s innovation fund.