Athletic Departments Are an Untapped Source of Rich Campus History

We all know that faculty and students are a great source of repository content, but have you thought about seeking out content from non-academic departments on campus? The University of Nevada, Las Vegas is stepping up to the plate with their unique collection of programs from the university’s basketball and football games, dating all the way back to 1959 and 1968, and hosted in DigitalScholarship@UNLV.

The programs include original full-color artwork and photos; vintage advertisements from local political candidates, real-estate agents, and companies like Coca-Cola; and a wealth of essays, articles, and notes from the Dean, among many other interesting historical tidbits. The collection came out of a collaboration between the University’s Special Collections Director, the University Archivist, and repository staff. Marianne Buehler, Urban Sustainability Librarian and IR Administrator at UNLV, said, “The programs really provide a great snapshot of Las Vegas, our university athletics, and what was happening on campus and in the community at that time. They also show what a different lifestyle there was back then; you no longer see these elaborate hard copy programs created for the game attendees.”

Since being digitized, the UNLV basketball and football programs have seen “healthy download counts.” Buehler notes that small archival collections that have limited runs like historical sports programs are particularly great fits for the repository. “It always feels good when we have something that’s been locked up in a dusty old box and we can revive it, because somebody’s always going to take interest.”

For another great example of sports content in the IR, check out Wofford College’s Media Guides Collection, which were “prepared by the Athletic Media Relations Office in the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.”

UNLV football program

Historical football program from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.