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Encyclopedia of Indianapolis Reaches One-Year Anniversary

Encyclopedia of Indianapolis Reaches One-Year Anniversary
Encyclopedia Earns Indiana Library Federation’s Collaboration Award, Launches New Redlining Feature.
Encyclopedia Earns Indiana Library Federation’s Collaboration Award, Launches New Redlining Feature..

The Indianapolis Public Library is celebrating the one-year anniversary of the launch of the Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, a free-access, web-based encyclopedia that tells the stories of the people, organizations, places, and events that define Indianapolis. Since the launch of on Nov. 18, 2021, the Encyclopedia of Indianapolis has welcomed over 118,000 visitors for over 252,000 page views. More than 2,000 entries are available, with 1900 available at launch and 100 being published during updates over the past 12 months. Each month, entries are served to searchers across the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and China, providing comprehensive social, cultural, economic, historical, political, and physical descriptions of Indianapolis.

“We are excited to see the ways in which individuals are using this online resource,” said Mike Williams, manager of special projects at The Indianapolis Public Library. “History lovers, students, and their parents are using the site for research, teachers are using it in classes, and individuals from all over the world who are curious about Indianapolis’ culture and its neighborhoods are able to find the information they need.”

The most popular searches over the past 12 months include notable radio broadcaster Fred Heckman, the Sylvia Likens murder case that took place in Indianapolis in 1965, and Sammy Terry, a television horror host persona who introduced horror films for local Indianapolis station WTTV-4. Other topics that can be explored include the COVID-19 pandemic, school desegregation, and the Indy 500.

On Nov. 14, the Encyclopedia earned the Indiana Library Federation’s Collaboration Award. This award honors and recognizes a corporation, organization, individual library, or a group of libraries, that has made significant contributions in collaboration or collaborative efforts to promote library services in a community, region, or statewide.

The Encyclopedia has become, in a brief time, an outstanding civic resource, available freely to all. It is the first place to go for information about the city and its people,” said James H. Madison, renowned Indiana historian and EOI Editorial Board Chair. “This sophisticated knowledge platform continues the mission of the first public libraries founded in our state so long ago.”

In May 2022, the Encyclopedia received the Indiana Geographic Information Council Special Achievement in Geographic Information System (GIS) award. This award recognizes special geospatial projects developed through teamwork that demonstrate commitment to working with others in the Indiana GIS community toward a common goal while performing important, often pioneering work, to create an outstanding information resource.

The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis continues to receive regular updates throughout the year. On November 16, 2022, The Encyclopedia launched a new "Redlining" feature that will look at the effects of discriminatory mortgage lending practices that reinforced 20th-century residential racial segregation. The feature, contributed by local architectural historian Jordan Ryan, reveals how the past continues to shape the present. It includes an interactive map that allows those who visit the site to explore how redlining continues to impact neighborhoods today and is the most interactive feature of the Encyclopedia of Indianapolis to date.

The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis is a legacy project of the Indianapolis Bicentennial Commission, developed by the Polis Center at IUPUI in collaboration with the city’s major cultural and heritage institutions including SAVI, University of Indianapolis, IUPUI University Library, Indiana State Library, The Indiana Historical Bureau, Indiana Landmarks, Butler University, Indiana Archives, and Indiana Humanities. Major funding for the Encyclopedia of Indianapolis was provided by Lilly Endowment Inc., Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation, R.B. Annis Educational Foundation, The Indianapolis Foundation Library Fund, Nicholas H. Noyes, Jr. Memorial Foundation, M. Jacqueline Nytes, and an anonymous donor. It is sustained by The Indianapolis Public Library as a civic resource.

To make a donation toward the Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, visit The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation.