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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Statistics in the University Archives: Health Statistics

A finding aid for undergraduate students looking for statistics in the archives

Where to start? Finding the print archives

There are a number of ways to find information in the archives.  You can begin with a subject search, or search the listings of the contents of the folders in the archives.  However, If you think in terms of the organization of the university, the search will be easier and more direct when looking for health statistics. The organization of archival materials mirrors the structure of the university.  So when you are looking for something in the archives it is helpful to know which office created the document.  Was the report issued by the Dean of Students?  Which Dean of Students?  If you know which dean you can search by name.  If not, you can select the "Subjects" tab and find the entry for "Dean of Students".

Following this strategy, when looking for general statistical information on student health begin by selecting the "Campus Units" tab.  You can now search the page with your browser's "Find" option for the term "Health".  This is where things can become complicated.  If, for example, you tried searching "hospital" or "McKinley," you will find nothing in this list.  It is important to keep in mind that the university  alters its structure over time as the campus changes.  Changes in structure means changes in names.  In this particular list you will find "Health" in the entry for "Campus Health Service".

If you click on "Campus Health Service,"  it shows the below list:  

The three-part number before each heading is the "Record Series".  The first number indicates the campus unit--here, "Campus Health Service".  The second number refers to the "subgroup" --in this case the "Director's Office".  Everything under the responsibility of the Campus Health Service and the administration of the Director of the Health Service will be in this list.  The fifth item--"Annual Reports"--is of interest as it includes annual reports for the Health Service.  If materials are not available digitally, you will need to request materials using the record series number: 33/1/801. 

The control card that describes the Annual Reports lists a number of headings.  By these headings, the Annual Reports look like they may have statistical data.  Before you can view these records, you must determine which building houses this record series.  To do so, search the Record Series # in the Archon database described on "Searching the Archives" tab.  When you enter the number, the three parts should be separated by slashes, so 33 1 801 becomes 33/1/801. You now have various options to search for more information, including a search of subject headings.

Where to start - digital content

As with many other topics, there are alternate routes to statistical data in the archives.  Continuing with health statistics, the record series control card indicates a digital copy of the Health Services Reports.  However, if you click on the "Image/E-Record Title" you may run in to some complications.  In this part of the database, you will search the title of the digitized copy. This may be slightly different from what you just saw as the name of the record series.  This is because if the copy was digitized at the archives, the title may begin with the words "Digital surrogates of ...".  You will not find anything in this section of the database under the words Health or Hospital. 

However, if you search under "Digital surrogates of Hospital..." you will find a link to the digital copy of all Health Service reports from 1916 to 2009.  The term "Digital Surrogates" indicates that the digital copy was produced by the archives.  Other documents in the database that are available electronically without this designation.  In general, this indicates the digital files were created elsewhere.

Another avenue to health statistics is to search by subject.  If you start from the "Subject" tab and search under McKinley, you will find McKinley Hospital listed.  Under this sub-group is a link to the Annual Reports as well as other links, including "Hospital and Health Services Reports, 1923..."  This record series has a wealth of material online. 

Of course, the original files are available at the Archives Research Center.  You will need the record series number (41/2/33), should you want to cite any of the digital or print information.

The original print copy contains varied information currently unavailable digitally.  One interesting report chronicles the attempt to map geographical distribution on communicable diseases.  The image below is taken from the report made in 1930-31.

Fifteenth Annual Report of Health Services, University of Illinois, 1930-31; RS #41/2/33, University Archives, University of Illinois.
http://archives.library.illinois.edu/erec/University%20Archives/4102033/1930_31_opt.pdf
Accessed, 2/4/2014.

Guidelines

  • The archives changes over time.   The organization of the archives evolves.  Don't hesitate to ask for help!
  • Plan your search. Be sure you have a clear idea of how to approach your topic. Review "Searching the Archives".
  • Try preliminary searches.  Keep in mind that "Subjects" are not keywords and not the same as the subject headings used in the library.   You may need to be creative in your search.
  • Identify the location. If you search the archives database "Archon," and find record series that look promising, make note of the location of the files. 
  • Digital records. When materials are digitized by our archives, the title of those documents may begin with the words "Digital surrogate of..."
  • When all else fails - ask an archivist!!