IU President Announces Plan To Digitize Research

IU President Michael McRobbie announced the university would begin to digitize research and music recordings, as a part of its five-year plan.

michael mcrobbie

Photo: Courtesy of Indiana University

IU President Michael McRobbie gave his annual state of the university address on Oct. 1.

Indiana University President Michael McRobbie laid out his vision Tuesday for what he’s calling the Indiana University Strategic Plan for the Bicentenary at the annual State of the University speech.

The comprehensive plan is a roadmap for where McRobbie wants IU to be in six years.

“So that, in that year, we can all rightly look back on the previous decade as one of the greatest, most productive, and most transformative in IU’s history,” he says.

McRobbie addressed a number of university advancements over the past year including tying tuition costs with student performance, but the heart of the speech focused on IU’sMedia Preservation and Digitization Initiative (MPDI).

McRobbie says for more than 25 centuries that great universities have had three functions: creation of knowledge, dissemination of knowledge and preservation of knowledge.

“The transformation of the third mission of universities from the physical to the virtual world of digitization is both essential and irreversible,” McRobbie says.

McRobbie directed Vice Presidents for Information Technology and Research, along with the Dean of Libraries to develop an IU Digitization Master Plan that would support research, education and preservation of knowledge in preparation for the Strategic Plan for the Bicentenary.

Bringing together the offices of the President, Provost and Vice President, IU will have a combined $15 million over the next five years in which to digitize the university.

Digitization of media is not new to Indiana University. IU  worked with other universities on the Google Book Search Project, the university also boasts a world-renowned digital music library comprising more than 20,000 digital recordings and IU co-founded The Hathi Trust a leading digital library.

A study estimates IU has about half a million objects of value. McRobbie says making these available digitally by the Bicentenary in six years is no easy task, but one that’s  crucial to IU’s future.

“Unless we take action now many of these precious objects-many potentially vital to scholarship and part of the heritage of IU will be lost forever,” McRobbie says.

Other topics addressed in the speech included the 3.6 percent increase in the University’s  budget, $700 million in deferred maintenance projects, a 1.75 percent tuition increase which would not be applicable to juniors and seniors who graduate in four years, combining liberal arts studies with every professional discipline to make students more marketable and continuing to improve  on “value” and “affordability”.

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