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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Summer Research Laboratory Orientation

A guide to the University of Illinois Library for the Summer Research Laboratory on Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia

Library Tours

Tours are included in the Personalized Bibliographic Sessions vistors signed up for in the SRL application, which include a general orientation to the library building, as well as specialized highlights according to the scholar's interest. Individual and group tours will be available during the Summer Research Lab.

Sign up for a library tour here.

Library Catalogs

I-Share Catalog

The I-Share catalog is a shared public interface for 86 CARLI (Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois) member libraries. The local U of I Catalog is already the chosen field in the main search bar. Information on how to use the Classic Catalog to request items is available in the Oak Street Storage Facility box on this page.

 Here are some of the features you'll find in the catalog:

  • A single simple search box
  • Refine search by subject, title, topic, language, format, and more
  • Search the U of I library catalog or all I-Share libraries at once, including item status and location information
  • Request UIUC and I-Share items
  • Connect to your "My Account" page
  • Zotero-compliant for saving and tagging records
  • Social networking tools, such as leaving comments and tagging
  • Previews in Google Book Search
  • Includes HathiTrust titles
  • Call number searching
  • Shows specific e-book vendors for a title

More information on the catalog, including how to set up an account can be found here.

Classic Catalog

​The University Library currently still supports our "classic" catalog search. Although older, this interface provides the following features:

  • Call number searching
  • Virtual shelf browsing
  • Library of Congress Subject Heading (LCSH) browsing

The Main Stacks

As a Summer Lab Research Lab participant, you will have full access to the Main Stacks. Below is some helpful information on how to navigate the Main Stacks. Keep in mind, that you can also request Main Stacks materials to be delivered to any of the Library circulation desks via the library catalog.

Oak Street Storage Facility

The University of Illinois University Library has 13 million volumes and is constantly growing. Materials that have not circulated a certain number of times within a period of time, or are deemed too fragile for conditions within the Main Stacks, are sent to the Oak Street High Density Storage Facility. This warehouse contains about 3 million volumes of the collection, providing a climate controlled environment for library materials.

Depending on what visiting scholars are researching, they may have to request items from Oak Street. This is not a problem, and the wait time is comparable to that of requests traveling from other campus libraries. Users cannot visit the facility and browse the collection because items are sorted and shelved by size, not by call number or subject. Items can be delivered to any library location across campus. SRL visiting scholars might prefer to choose the IAS Circulation Desk or the Main Circulation Desk as pick up locations.

Here is how to request items from Oak Street using the Classic Catalog:

NOTE: When using the VuFind Catalog, you must have a User Account. Create a user account to make renewing and requesting materials easier while using the VuFind Catalog.

  1. Locate the desired item in the Classic Catalog.
  2. Click the "Request" link in the top right-hand corner of the page.
  3. On the page that appears: 
    Select your "Home Library" if requesting a book not on the UIUC campus. 
    Enter the 14 digit library borrower ID from your I-Card 
    Enter your last name
  4. On the next page: 
    "Choose a pick-up library" for delivery of your book 
    Reenter your library borrower ID 
    Enter the date the item is no longer needed, if applicable. 
  5. You will receive an e-mail indicating when and where the books are to be picked up

For a more thorough explanation of how to request an item from Oak Street (or any other campus library) using the Classic Catalog, see the attached PDF file.


The Oak Street Reading Room- 809 S. Oak Street, Champaign IL

Monday-Friday 9am-4pm  (May be reduced to 1pm-4pm during breaks)


While most items held at Oak Street can be requested to be sent to any library, some items can only be used at Oak Street. These items say "Oak Street [Reading Room use only]" on the record. If this is the case, they can be used at the Oak Street Reading Room. When requesting them, in the Location field, you need to select "UIUC OAK ST. DESK" from the "Choose pick-up location" menu. These materials will usually be available at the Oak Street Reading Room by the start of the next business day. Besides tables for research, the reading room has a public computer connected to a multi-function printer capable of scanning, copying, and printing.

Unique Archival Resources

Easy Search: Federated Searching


Federated Searching is a technology which allows simultaneous search and retrieval of data from different databases and electronic resources, such as e-journals, subscription databases, electronic print collections, other digital repositories, and the Internet.

The technology allows a user to enter search terms using a single search interface, much like Google. The search is then run in the associated databases, and the results are presented in a single, unified list.

Advantages of Federated Searching:

  • Searching multiple subscription databases through one simple, powerful interface
  • The interface can can be customized
  • No need to know which database offers what particular journal titles
  • No need to master the syntax of each database
  • Results are displayed in a combined list, in a (usually) common format

Bear in mind that Federated Searching is by no means a magic bullet. For example, only simple Boolean commands can be employed when using it. In short: it is a great time saver, a good starting point, but not a substitute for in-depth searching. It is an emerging technology and its cababilities are growing as the vendors continuously update them. It has the potential to revolutionize online searching by making it vastly more powerful and user-friendly.

UIUC Library's Gateway employs Federated Searching called Easy Search. By clicking on the Advanced Search link, you can narrow the number of databases that are being searched by clicking on tabs, or search them all simultaneously. To view the full list of sources included in Easy Search, visit the What am I searching? page.