The complete history of the UT can only be found in one place, and that is in our archive,’ says Maaike Platvoet, editor-in-chief of U-Today. ‘The archive is of great value to the UT, but also to the region, to alumni and staff, and we therefore really wished to digitize it. We have succeeded in this with the help of the Twente University Fund, the archive management department of LISA and the Overijssel Historical Center.’
For a long time it was only possible to digitally search for articles from the year 1995 onwards. The archive covering the period 1963 to 1994 was only available on paper, making it vulnerable to loss but also difficult to access. ‘U-Today regularly receives requests from people who are looking for a certain event or photo. The editors themselves make extensive use of the archive to look up things or track down names, for example for the series '60 years UT'. It contains a wealth of information, which is greatly important for the history of the UT and, at the same time, in order to place and understand current affairs in perspective.'
News at and around THT
Via this link, every visitor can now browse through dozens of volumes of UT Nieuws, but also search for specific keywords. ‘So if you are looking for a specific event, a building or a professor, everything is now easy to find. Including the accompanying photos,’ says Platvoet. She tells about the history of the newspaper: ‘Nieuws in en om THT (News at and around THT) was the very first weekly newspaper for staff and students of the University of Twente. Actually, it was not allowed to bear the name 'paper', it was literally a stencil. It was printed on campus and made by the Information Service at the time. The 'news' mainly consisted of staff and household announcements, which was of course quite interesting at a time when a new university was being built from the ground up in Twente.'
In 1970, Nieuws in en om THT took on more serious forms, partly thanks to the recruitment of a real journalist in the person of Bert Groenman. In 1986, THT changed its name to University of Twente and the newspaper was renamed UT-Nieuws, after being briefly called Universiteitsblad Twente. Groenman expanded his editorial team with a few professionals and student employees. The paper has undergone a lot of restyling and innovations over the years, and from 1995 the newspaper also appeared online.
The next step
The next step for the archive is to also accommodate the period 1995-2011 of UT-Nieuws at the Historisch Centrum Overijssel. ‘During that period, a newspaper was still published on campus every week, and the digital archive from these years is messy and incomplete due to updates to the website. In short, there is still work to be done, but the first big step has been taken,' says the editor-in-chief.
The Twente University Fund (UFonds) – which made a financial contribution to the realization of the digital archive – is also enthusiastic about the digitization. Maurice Essers, director of the alumni office and Ufonds: 'The university, but also the Twente University Fund, attaches great importance to strengthening the UT community of students, employees, former employees and alumni. Why? Because such a strong, connected UT community is of added value to all members; it expands your network, it gives you access to a lot of interesting organizations. This tool makes it easier to share memories and collect beautiful stories, which undoubtedly contributes to strengthening social cohesion within the community.’