If you’re looking for the site of your great-grandfather’s hardware store in his home town, or how a particular city or town has changed in the past hundred years or so, all you need is your computer mouse. Anyone with a computer now has access to over 6-thousand Sanborn maps—originally created to assess fire insurance risk—as well as government plats for Missouri counties. These may be searched by city, county or street name, and according to M-U archivist Michael Holland, are a wealth of knowledge about the changes in various Missouri cities and towns through the years.
In addition to the maps and plats, copies of the M-U alumni magazine and old issues of the University’s yearbook, the "Savitar", are also available on-line. Holland, who is also head of collections, archives and rare books, explains that while all this took over 18 months to put together, for him it was a labor of love. The University was fortunate to receive a $16,000 grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services to complete the project, so that people from academic sociologists to amateur genealogists can use these as research tools. The documents are available at "digital.library.umsystem.edu".