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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

University Archives Reference Resources

Locating information in the Archives can be daunting if you do not know where to start. These resources include commonly-used records and reference guides put together to help you get started digging into the primary sources in the University Archives.


These online guides provide a quick overview of the process for searching the Archives database.

Digital Content/Image Database

Images, scanned content, and born-digital content can be found by searching for Digital Content within the University Archives catalog.

Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections

This collection contains digitized newspapers from across Illinois. Their text is fully searchable, and you can conduct a robust faceted search through the INDC’s website.

Board of Trustees Reports (1/1/802)

These reports are the key to jumping into almost any University-related topic in the Archives. The BOT votes and reports on just about everything that goes on at the University. We have print volumes of these in the reading room which are all indexed. There are several digital access points for these.

Illio Yearbooks (41/8/805)

These yearbooks have been fully digitized through 2007. Each volume is full-text searchable. I prefer to use the editions on the IDMYC site as it is easier to locate volumes by year in that repository.

Ready Reference Files (RF)

These are physical folders used in the Archives reading room. They typically contain copies of printed material, and the topics covered reflect subjects that are frequently inquired about.

Alumni/Faculty Biographical File (26/4/1)

These are physical folders used in the Archives reading room. They typically contain newspaper clippings, photos, and other biographical information from the Alumni Association. Not all alumni/faculty are represented, but if you need information on a person, ask the reference team and we’re always glad to check whether a folder exists. 

UI Histories Project

Created by Kalev Lettaru and transferred to the University Archives c. 2011, this website is an invaluable source for history about the founding of the University of Illinois, buildings on campus, gifts/memorials, collections, student life, milestones, the Board of Trustees, special collections, and has its own digital library. This site is an excellent starting place for research on any of those topics, as its content is largely sourced from the Archives and cited well. As with any secondary source, however, there are some errors so you should do your due diligence when researching and citing facts from the website.

Pocket Facts

Pocket Facts is produced by the Office of University Relations, and data are provided by the Office for Planning and Budgeting. Both offices are units of University Administration.