| 03.18.2018

Archives made mobile-friendly — UI Library releases digital site for The Argonaut collection


The Argonaut was first published in 1898.

Some of the major stories from Nov. 1, 1898 include information regarding the Spanish-American War as well as the residents of Moscow viewing students at the University of Idaho as suspicious and untrustworthy.

Since then, The Argonaut has been the voice of the UI campus. It was run by students from the beginning with the goal to “acquaint every citizen of Idaho with the advancement of the University.”

Now, the entirety of nearly 120 years worth of Argonaut publications from 1898-2010 can be accessed by anyone with the internet. Evan Williamson, a digital infrastructure librarian at the UI Library, has been working on creating a site for the digital archives of The Argonaut for about a year.

The site, he said, was modelled after the Gem of the Mountains collection webpage, but The Argonaut page will be more mobile-friendly. The Argonaut collection will be the first of the digital initiatives to be released as a mobile-friendly site from the library’s website, but Williamson said they hope to gradually work through the other collections throughout the year.

The Argonaut collection showcases digitized copies of The Argonaut up to 2010. The most recent ones have yet to be archived, but we hope to have them up soon. The images they used are from digitized microfilm, which is available in the library to look through manually as well.

The project was about access and expanding, Williamson said. People have a fascination with life on campus as well as a lot of interest in the Vandal community. The Argonaut gives a chance for people to explore and discover moments from history that highlight aspects of campus life.

“Every day it is something new,” Williamson said. “The ads are really fun to go through … in the beginning everything was very formal, very Victorian.”

Collaboration between The Argonaut and the UI Library archivists is important. History, especially the kind that can be found within the pages of a newspaper, needs to be preserved. As Williamson said, the life on UI’s campus as portrayed by students is unique material that can’t be found elsewhere.

“You get so many different voices,” Williamson said. “You’re hearing thousands of student voices capturing (campus life) moments.”

That is the goal of The Argonaut. To be a voice for the students of the campus. To showcase student life as well as life of the Moscow community. For more than 100 years, we have done our best, and hopefully will continue to do so for 100 more.

We look forward to fostering the relationship with the UI Library and hope to keep archives of Argonauts for years to come on their webpage built just for us.

Claire Whitley can be reached at argonaut@uidaho.edu or on Twitter @Cewhitley24

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