Bentley Historical Library
Timeline of Digital Initiatives

1979
Conference on Archival Management of Machine-Readable Records. Proceedings of Conference, edited by Carolyn Geda, Erik Austin and Francis Blouin, Chicago, Illinois: Society of American Archivists, 1980.

1983
Library staff begins using a word processing application called Finalword for printed works finding aids and office management activities.

1983-1997
Study of Modern Archives Fellowship Program, sponsored by Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and National Endowment for the Humanities. During the fifteen years of the program, fellows contributed important research to the area of digital records and impacts of information technology on archives. Examples of research on digital records completed at the Bentley Library include:

  • Margaret Hedstrom, "Understanding Electronic Incunabula: A Framework for Research on Electronic Records." American Archivist 54 (Summer 1991): 334-54.
  • Avra Michelson and Jeff Rothenberg, "Scholarly Communication and Information Technology: Exploring the Impact of Changes in Research Process on Archives." American Archivist 55 (Spring 1992): 236-315.

1985-2000
In 1985, the Bentley Library participates in a Research Libraries Group project with peer institutions to develop and implement machine-readable cataloging record standard for manuscript and archival holdings. The project also provides for the retrospective cataloging of the library's collections and their entry into RLIN, an international database operated by RLG, a consortium of research universities and other institutions. Eventually, the digital cataloging records are entered into OCLC, another bibliographic network. In February 1994, the Bentley's RLIN records were entered into MIRLYN, Michigan's online public access catalog. By June 2000, all of the Bentley's descriptive records for all formats (manuscripts, archives, maps, publications) were entered into MIRLYN.

1987
Library staff start using a database system called PCfile for location management and begin using Micromarc to catalog printed items relating to the Library's Vatican Archives Project.

1992
Anne Gilliland-Swetland, Greg Kinney and William Wallach, "Study on the uses of electronic communication to document an academic community," NHPRC Grant 91-113, Ann Arbor, Michigan: Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan 1992.

1995
Encoded Archival Description (EAD) guideline development process begins at the Bentley Library with work undertaken by a national team of experts in archival descriptive standards (later known as the Bentley Finding Aid Team). The team worked under the auspices of the Bentley Historical Library's Research Fellowship Program for the Study of Modern Archives, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Division of Preservation and Access of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Bentley Historical Library. For further background on the development process and team members click here.

1995-1996
Bentley Library adopts Encoded Archival Description (EAD) for the online dissemination of finding aids. In 2008, the Library has over 1800 finding aids searchable online. Access portal to EAD.

1995
Bentley Library launches its first homepage on the World Wide Web. The Library is now in its third major version, see Bentley Library homepage.

1996
"Electronic Records Research and Development Conference," held at the University of Michigan. Sponsored by School of Information and Bentley Historical Library. Funded by NHPRC Grant (96-12).

1997
Accession of former University of Michigan president James J. Duderstadt collection with over 2,000 personal digital files. Finding Aid online

1998
Society of American Archivists' EAD Working Group along with Greg Kinney, Bentley associate archivist, meets at the Bentley Library to discuss EAD DTD version 1.0.

1999
Bentley Library Image Bank developed as a partnership between three university units with the goal of mounting digital images online with their associated metadata in a searchable database. Access to the Bentley Image Bank.

2000-2001
Bentley staff develops an in-house administrative tracking database for archival functions called BEAL. The database is set up to track accessions, donor and collection management, processing activities, mailing lists, collection and digital object location management.

2002-2003
Nancy Deromedi, "Personal Faculty Web Sites: Exploring Archival Issues and the Digital Convergence," Archival Issues 29, no. 1 (2005), 9-18. NHPRC fellowship grant.

2002
University Archives and Records Program (UARP) updates its Policy and Procedures Manual to include a section on records in digital form. Link to UARP Manual

2002-ongoing
Several University of Michigan offices seek the Bentley Library staff for ongoing advice on archiving specific records now only created in digital form.

2004-2006
University Archives staff and Bentley Associate Director serve on Advisory Board and preservation subcommittee for the development of the University's institutional repository. The repository, called DeepBlue, is accessible online.

2006-ongoing
Bentley Library agrees to participate in University of Michigan-Michigan Google Digitization Project. Library staff begin to prepare book and serial collection for digitization.

2007
"Conference on the Development of Case Studies for the Effective Management of University Digital Records," Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funded this conference. A direct outcome of the conference was the development of a portal for the submission of case studies.

Bentley published case studies:

Nancy Deromedi, associate archivist, University Archives and Records Program, June 2008, compiled this timeline.