MDPI Updates – Byrnes, REEI, Poynter Center & more!

In 2015, Indiana University launched the system-wide Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative (MDPI), with the goal of reformatting and saving deteriorating media and film that could be found across all of the Indiana University campuses. To date, more than 344,000 audio, video, and film have been digitized.

At the University Archives, in some instances, we knew who deposited or transferred the media, but so many lacked description — and we lacked the proper equipment to safely play or view many of the items – that we are just now discovering what we actually had in our holdings. It has been a long road to figure out copyright and privacy issues surrounding the digitized media but late last year, we were given the green light to begin working our way through the “dark archive” and begin making them accessible. Access levels are worldwide, IU-login, or restricted. Nearly all materials can be viewed upon request for individual researchers, however, and item descriptions can be found via our collection finding aids in ArchivesOnline. For the past several months, I have shared internally what was being published but it seemed these updates should be shared more broadly! And so, without further ado….

All of these items can be accessed via Media Collections Online (MCO). Some may require IU log-in for immediate access; click on the Sign In link in the upper right hand corner of the MCO web site.

New project:

In April, Archives student Andrew wrote a post about his work on recordings from the Robert Byrnes papers, and specifically, a series of films Byrnes recorded circa 1959 on Russian history for distance education purposes. These films have since been processed through Kaltura for automatic transcription and now our wonderful graduate student Stephanie is working on cleanup. When completed, the files will be moved back into MCO and they will be our FIRST films with closed captioning! The transcripts are fairly clean but it is still slow work, taking her about 4-6 hours per 30 minute recording (she says she spends a fair amount of time looking up the spelling of Russian individuals and places!).
Screenshot of Ruissan Revolutios and the Soviet Regime opening scene from Media Collections Online


  • Commission on Multicultural Understanding recordings (45 items): Quite a bit of content related to the Benton Murals, including several “B” rolls of footage for the documentary, “The Parks, the Circus, the Klan, the Press: A Benton Mural in Woodburn Hall.” Collection also includes recordings of panels, meetings, speeches, or forums, as well as recordings collected by the Commission for educational purposes. Access level: Largely IU-only due to lack of releases from speakers, though some are because they are non-IU created content. Two recordings related to rape and campus safety have been made available Worldwide. If you are outside IU, see the collection finding aid for fuller description of the recordings that are not available and contact us for access requests.
  • Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics & American Institutions recordings (100 items): These are absolute gems. The items are primarily recordings of television programs IU’s Poynter Center created from the 1970s-1990s, including series such as “The Citizen and the News,” “A Poynter Center Report,” “Citizen & Science,” “Poynter Interviews on American Institutions” and “Conversations on America.” Each episode brought in outside politicians and reporters such as Lee Hamilton, then-Congressman Andrew Young, Jr. (went on to become the first African American US ambassador to the UN, later served as Atlanta’s mayor), and well-known journalist David Halberstam. Lots of focus on Vietnam, loss of public trust, politics and politicians, and how news is reported and how it helps form public opinion. Also included are campus lectures. Access level: Worldwide
  • Russian and East European Institute recordings (383 items): Consists largely of lectures spanning the 1960s-1990s, from both campus visitors and IU faculty. All audio. Local names you might recognize include Alex Rabinowitch, Charles Jelavich, and Charles Bonser.  Access level: IU, but descriptions can be found via the finding aid (see the “Programs” series); contact us for access!
  • Union Board recordings (291 items): “Live from Bloomington” albums, Dunn Meadow concerts, Dance Marathon recordings, Model UN events, and UB sponsored lectures and visitors, including Spike Lee, Bobby Knight, and June Reinisch. Access level: IU only, but we have Union Board records related to a lot of these events. We plan to do some research to see what kind of paperwork/releases we may have. In the meantime, see the descriptions in the Audiovisual series of the finding aid and let us know if you would like to access anything!
  • Allen Grimshaw recordings (116 items): Dr. Grimshaw was a Professor of Sociology at IU from 1959-1994. There are recordings related or used for his research, which focused heavily on sociolinguistics and how different disciplines studied the same speech event. Also includes classroom lectures. Access level: Mix of worldwide (classroom lectures), IU only (collected recordings), and Restricted (interviews with children, dissertation defense). Descriptions of the media can be found on his collection finding aid; contact us if you are outside IU and spot something you would like to see!

    Screen capture from Grimshaw recording of Soviet and American military personnel roundtable on nuclear disarmament.
    Screen capture from Grimshaw recording of Soviet and American military personnel roundtable on nuclear disarmament.

We have also located and pushed a few recordings in response to requests, all have Worldwide access:

In progress:

And that’s your MDPI update for the summer! Please let us know if you have any questions and definitely spend some time checking out the wonderful resources to be found in Media Collections Online! It’s pretty amazing what we have access to here at Indiana University. And as always, please let us know if you have any questions!

Look for the next update in a few months!

New collection! Union Board records, 1912-2010

Indiana University boasts a diverse, active student body with more than seven hundred registered student organizations on the Bloomington campus. Despite outreach efforts, many student groups are not officially represented in the Indiana University Archives at present. The Union Board, the governing body of the Indiana Memorial Union and the largest student programming group on campus, is one exception.

A newspaper clipping which depicts a minstrel serenading a table of diners at the Union Board sponsored Madrigal Dinner, 1965. The Madrigal Dinners were extravagant annual productions on the IU campus from 1947-2001.

The Union Board records at the IU Archives, which span the years from 1912-2010 (bulk 1922-2010), represent rich documentation of student-led initiatives and activities at Indiana University throughout most of the group’s hundred-plus year history. Materials–including meeting minutes, other administrative documents, group sponsored publications, records from various programs and events, and a number of videocassette recordings–are described online and available to researchers in the Archives’ reading room with advance notice. In addition, the minutes from the Union Board records are slated for digitization in the coming months, thus researchers near and far will have access to nine decades of administrative decisions, which offer a unique, student-oriented perspective on Indiana University history.

John Whittenberger, student and founder of the Union Board, 1909

The Union Board was originally organized by John M. Whittenberger in 1909 as an organization that would “further the interests of Indiana University and her students.” Founding members included male students and two individuals in advisory positions, including University President William L. Bryan. In its early years, the male-only group met in the Student Building and old Assembly Hall before construction of the Indiana Memorial Union building was completed in 1932. In 1952, women were first admitted to the Union Board following a merger with the Association of Women Students.

A promotional photograph of British rock band Jethro Tull. The band played a concert sponsored by the Union Board on October 31, 1975

Over time, the Union Board grew to consist of a governing body including an elected student Executive Team and group of student Committee Directors. As of 2011, the Union Board supported thirteen active programming committees overseen by three executive team members, making a combined total of sixteen student positions, all of whom work in tangent with Staff Advisors, Faculty and Alumni Representatives, and the Executive Director of the Indiana Memorial Union.

A publicity photograph of acclaimed author and poet Maya Angelou, who lectured at a Union Board sponsored program on April 11, 2001


The goal of the Union Board is to serve students, faculty, alumni and the greater IU Bloomington community through a diverse range of events, activities, and programs. Major recurring activity initiatives organized by the Union Board include film screenings, concerts, performing arts acts, comedy shows, lectures, debates, the publication of Canvas arts magazine, Live From Bloomington local music programming, holiday Madrigal Dinner performances, and a variety of international and culturally oriented events, many of which are documented in the Union Board records. From rock concerts to lectures by worldwide diplomats, the collection has much to offer in terms of gauging student interests and trends throughout the years. Contact the University Archives if you are interested in further exploring IU’s history through the Union Board records!

Furthermore: Are you a student or faculty sponsor involved with a registered student organization here at Indiana University? Do you want your own organization’s work and influence on campus, however great or small, to play a role in documenting the history of student life at Indiana University? Do you have an abundance of files left over from past officers that you’re not sure what to do with? If you answered “Yes!” or even “hmm… maybe…” to any of these questions, contact the University Archives to learn more about the possibility of depositing your records!