Bicentennial Data Visualization

Data sources

In order to provide data for this project, the IU Bloomington Office of Enrollment Planning & Research utilized eight sources of data. The eight sources are as follows:

Student Information System (SIS)

SIS is the system of record for most (but not all) Indiana University students. This dataset is rich in data with a higher or lower percentage of students by time period.

Alumni data

The IU Alumni Association provided data for the majority of alumni who graduated since the 1940s.

Historical transcript data

The Bloomington Office of the Registrar has scanned and indexed approximately 388,000 paper transcripts from the mid-1880s through the mid-1960s. Although indexing completed degrees was not part of that effort, each student’s full name, entry semester, and birth date was captured. The entry semester was instrumental in placing one of the time markers for the data visualization.

Official List of Graduates

The Office of the Provost provided funding for the official list of graduates to be scanned and indexed. This series of bound documents contains graduation records beginning with the first graduating class of 1830 to the mid-1960s.

Commencement programs

The Office of the Provost provided funding for several decades worth of commencement programs to be scanned and indexed. Starting in the 1890s, this was another invaluable source of graduation data that complemented the official list of graduates and at times became the lead source for determining who the list of graduates were for a particular year.

1916 Registry

As part of Indiana’s centennial celebration, IU collected as much information about its alumni as possible. This data set had valuable location data, especially post-graduation, which complemented the data from the IUAA.

Degree card data

Degree cards are an internal source used by the registrar to compile the list of graduates for commencement programs. These documents cover the years 1830-1945. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the data collected, this data source was unusable for this project. 

Degree lists

This is the final data source for graduation data.

Each year, schools provided the IU Bloomington Office of the Registrar their final lists of graduates. These documents were scanned and grouped into a hierarchical file directory. Any particular document can be retrieved for visual searching of a particular student to help rectify any inconsistencies found in the other sources of data. Though valuable for other purposes, the data here was not used for the visualization.


  • Ethan Bernhardt, Assistant Registrar and Manager of Information Services
  • Mary Bonk, Vice President of Advancement Technology, IU Foundation
  • James Capshew, University Historian
  • Susan Hammond, Director of Enterprise Systems, IU Foundation
  • Matthew Hutchinson, Data Manager, IU Network Science Institute
  • Mark McConahay, Associate Vice Provost and Registrar
  • Ann McCranie, Assistant Director of Research Administration, IU Network Science Institute
  • Val Pentchev, Director of Information Technology, IU Network Science Institute
  • Ben Serrette, Lead Software Engineer, IU Network Science Institute