Champaign to begin project to Preserve Historical Documents

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CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign City Council approved a project that will preserve the Council’s documents from the City’s inception through the present.

Champaign’s Council approved the project at their January 26 meeting. They will begin developing a full scope of services for the project at a later date.

The documents to be preserved include City Council meeting minutes, resolutions and ordinances from the earliest days of the City of Champaign when it was part of Urbana. Originally, the City was known as “West Urbana” until it was incorporated as a separate entity named “Champaign” in 1860.

At this time, the City has just one full set of Council documents from 1857 to the present. In order to preserve these documents should a disaster happen, the historical documents will be microfilmed, and copies of the microfilm will be safely stored in multiple locations.

This project also aims to make these documents more accessible to both historians and members of the public. One of the locations, the Champaign County Historical Archives at the Urbana Free Library, will be open to the public.

Digital copies of the documents will also be available on the City’s website and the Champaign County Historical Archives’ website.

Currently, the City plans to archive historical handwritten documents, but they are investigating options to include more recent documents produced on typewriters and computers.

After developing a full scope of services for the project, the City will issue a Request for Proposals to select a vendor to film and digitize the documents. Once a vendor has been selected, city staff expect filming and digitizing to begin later this year.

The project is estimated to be completed in early 2017.

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