The University of Indianapolis has unveiled a new tool aimed at enhancing its Digital Mayoral Archives. The university’s Institute for Civic Leadership & Mayoral Archives says Digital Backpacks is part of an effort to connect the archives with a broader audience.

The Digital Backpacks were created as part of UIndy’s ongoing partnership with Maine-based HistoryIT, which helped bring the archives into the digital age. UIndy says the tool is a free interactive feature allowing users to create folders with various items from the collections.

The university says users can create a Digital BackPacks account to save and share items from the site. The tool can be used by teachers to organize information about a single topic for lesson planning, while students can use it to share sources for research purposes and class presentations.

"The Digital Mayoral Archives enhances the University’s ability to extend its reach beyond the campus," said Institute Director Edward Frantz. "By connecting to the history of our city, University students also are able to comprehend the way in which the past interacts with the present. ‘We believe this will become a significant teaching tool in Indiana and an important resource for political scholars and armchair historians around the world."

The Digital Mayoral Archives includes more than 400,000 items collected during the administrations of Indianapolis mayors dating back to 1968. UIndy says, to date, nearly 23,000 users have logged onto the digital collection.