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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Ethnography of the University Project: Relevant Library Collections

Student Life & Culture Archives

Overview

The University of Illinois Archives' Student Life and Culture Archival Program (SLC Archives) specializes in the history of student life and culture at the University of Illinois from the university's founding in 1867 to the present. In addition, the SLC Archives holds one of the nation's most extensive collections of national fraternity and sorority materials

Collections

University of Illinois student materials in the SLC Archives include:

  • Student office records - such as Office of the Dean of Students, Greek Affairs, and Student Programs and Activities

  • Personal papers - including student diaries, scrapbooks, letters, and photographs

  • Publications - humor magazines, essays, organization newsletters

  • Student organization records - committee files, by-laws, photographs, scrapbooks, videos, publications from political, religious, social, cultural, and recreational groups on campus, 1867-2003.

  • Artifacts - student military uniforms, freshman beanies, letterman sweaters, Homecoming buttons, and dance programs.

To identify materials, consult the Archives' online database. You may search the database by subject or browse record series titles. The majority of student related materials are found in Record Group (RG) 41 (Student Affairs); RG 37 (Illini Union); and RG 26 (Alumni Association). To view the actual materials, you will need to come to the SLC Archives.

Location and hours

The SLC Archives is located at the Archives Research Center in the Horticulture Field Laboratory (HFL), 1707 S. Orchard, Urbana.

Directions: From campus, proceed south on Lincoln Avenue to the Florida/Lincoln intersection. Turn left and proceed to the next stop light (Orchard Street). The HFL is the large brick building on the southwest corner, fronted by a grassy lawn. Turn right onto Orchard and immediately turn right into the HFL drive. Metered parking is in front. The Archives reference room is through the front door and to your right in Room 105.

  • By foot: approximately a 20 minute walk from the Quad

  • By bus: take the Bronze #8. The bus stops next to the HFL.

Hours: The Archives Research Center is open Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Wednesdays: 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. For more information, please contact:

Ellen Swain
Archivist for Student Life and Culture
Phone: 217-333-7841 or email: eswain@illinois.edu

University of Illinois Archives

Essential Links

University of Illinois Archives Homepage

University of Illinois Archives: Holdings and Digital Archives

Student Life and Culture and Archival Program

Overview

The University Archives holds materials related to the history and current programs of the University, including administrative records, campus publications, and photographs. In addition, the Archives holds personal papers, scrapbooks, correspondence, and other items deposited by current and former University faculty, staff and students. Its collections include particularly strong documentation regarding educational administration, science and technology, agriculture and student life at the University. It will have much of interest to those studying the ethnography of the University.

To make the best use of the Archives, you must understand that they are organized and accessed differently than other parts of the University Library system. You should also be aware that some of the materials held in the Archives are also available in other Libraries around campus.


What are archives?

Archives are the non-current, organized records of an organization, but the word "archives" also refers to the location (i.e. building or room) where archives are held. Archives differ from books in that they are not bound and are more loosely organized. They are usually stored in boxes and file folders. Archival materials can be used only the reference room, not borrowed. All archives require special care in handling, and some materials may be very fragile.

Archives are organized to mirror the structure of the organization that produced them, in this case the University. For example, records relating to the University's Afro-American Studies Program are classified together, but records relating to the experience of African-Americans at the University might be found throughout the Archives. Information on the history of African-Americans at the University may be found in the papers of the History department, the president's office, and many other campus units. Within any group of archives, the documents are arranged as they were when actively used by the office. For that reason, you should always keep the archives in the order in which you found them.


Searching for and using archives

A good question to ask yourself when searching for archival material is "who might have created records that would answer my question?" Each set of archives (what the archives staff calls a record series) is listed and indexed in our online database. The record series descriptions found in the database can be searched in several ways. You can enter a search term, browse the records of an individual office or individual, or browse all records related to a particular subject heading, regardless of which office created them.

When you find something of interest to you in the database, be sure to record the record series number and bring it to the Archives so we can retrieve the materials in which you are interested. The record series number is a three part number that looks like this: 26/20/37. The Archives has two service locations. Room 19, Main Library, and the Archives Research Center (1707 S. Orchard). Make sure you visit the correct location for the materials you would like to view.

About the University of Illinois Archives: The Archives Staff is ready to assist you in your project. They can be contacted by phone at 217-333-0798 or by e-mail at illiarch@illinois.edu.

Main Stacks and Circulation

Overview

The Central Access Services Department of the University of Illinois Library handles the circulation and maintenance of the Bookstacks collection. The Bookstacks house a general collection of more than six million volumes. The Circulation desk and the entrance to the Bookstacks are located on the second floor of the Main Library.

The Bookstacks are divided in two stacks sections, east and west. The primary entrance to the Bookstacks is located on the fifth level of the east section (Deck 5 East). Directories and maps are posted throughout the Bookstacks indicating the specific locations of call numbers.

A unique mobile compact shelving system is used in the West Stacks to maximize storage space. Instructions for handling the compact shelving are posted throughout the west stacks. If any problems or questions arise about their use, please inquire at the Circulation Desk.

Bookstacks Access

Entrance to the Central Bookstacks is restricted to University of Illinois faculty, staff, and students with a valid I-Card.

Requesting a Book

Requesting materials via the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Online Library Catalog is available on any computer that can access the Library's web pages. If you need assistance, see instructions on requesting or call the Library Telephone Center at 217-333-8400. On-site requesting is also available. If you do not want to retrieve the materials yourself, visit the Main Circulation Desk to request materials from the Main Bookstacks, and the materials will be retrieved for you. This process can take between 15-30 minutes.

For requests placed through the online catalog, you will receive a notice via email indicating that the material can be picked up and how long it will be held for you.

Ethnography Resources in the Main Stacks

A collection of materials about the University of Illinois is housed in the Main Bookstacks. The collection consists of communications, reports and other documents published by the University of Illinois as well as books about the university, its people, and its departments/units.

The call number of these materials begins with C.IL6U and these materials are shelved between 379s and 380s on 10 East. The notable exception is the university's yearbook, The Illio. Its call number is C.IL6UPI, and the volumes covering the years 1895-1993 are housed on 5 East. Ask at the Circulation Desk for its precise location.

While an excellent collection of materials on the university, especially from the early to the mid-twentieth century, not all materials about the university are housed on 10 East. It is always advisable to search in the Online Catalog for a more comprehensive view of what is in the Main Bookstacks. If you are having difficulties finding materials, please consult the Information Desk on the second floor of the Main Library.

Stacks Help

If you are having difficulties finding materials in the Bookstacks, go to the circulation desk for assistance. If you are using the online catalog remotely and need assistance with placing requests, renewing books, etc., please contact Central Access Services at  (217) 333-8400, or send an email to circlib@library.illinois.edu.

Social Science Health and Education Library

Overview

The Social Science, Health, and Education Library is located in Room 100 and Room 101 of the Main Library and contains over 135,000 books, nearly 2,000 serial titles and 510,000 microforms in the areas of anthropology, education, political science, psychology, sociology, social work, and speech communication.

Ethnography Resources in the Social Science, Health, and Education Library

SSHEL also contains an extensive collection of resources on higher education, which can provide important background information for situating local practice within broader contexts. Materials on higher education can be found in the 378 call number range, or by doing a "Subject Heading" search on "education, higher" in the online catalog.

The Social Science, Health, and Education Library holds material on ethnographic methods and practice. Most of the guides to doing ethnographic research are shelved between call numbers 305.8-306 in the Reserves area

Education and Social Science Reference Help

Students and the general public can get help in person at the Social Science, Health, and Education Reference desk, located just inside the entrance to Room 101. Users can also get help by telephone (217-244-1864) or by using the Library's Ask a Librarian service which allows questions to be posed by email, real-time chat, or instant messaging.

History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library

Essential Links

History, Philosophy and Newspaper Library

Illinois Library Newspaper Database

Illinois Newspaper Project

Overview

The History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library (HPNL) is full of material related to the University of Illinois. Back issues of the Daily Illini and other college dailies can provide perspective on issues of interest to college students both locally and around the country. Impressive holdings of local newspapers like the News-Gazette give a sense of the broader community's response to University activities. The History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library holds all of the daily newspapers for major cities in Illinois, and many of these papers devote considerable coverage to the University. Many other Illinois papers can be located using the Illinois newspaper Project website. Various specialized collections of underground or "alternative" papers provide interesting context to movements and events on campus. The physical collection of the History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library collection is supplemented by access to online newspaper-related resources, such as Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, EbscoHost Newspaper Source, and Global Newsbank, that provide citations and/or and full-text access to millions of recent newspaper articles.

History, Philosophy and Newspapers Library offers a variety of services to assist EUI students doing historical research. For example, the library offers help in formulating research strategies, and in discovering and interpreting sources. The new digital viewer-scanners provide access to many archival collections on microfilm. The library is also spearheading ongoing newspaper digitization projects, which feature the campus newspaper as well as the local Urbana Daily Courier. Stop by today to make an appointment with a librarian.

 

Ethnography Resources in the History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library

The History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library is full of material that touches on the University of Illinois. Back issues of the Daily Illini and other college dailies can provide prospective on issues of concern to college students both locally and around the country. Impressive holdings of local newspapers like the News-Gazette can give a sense of the broader community's response to things going on at the university. The History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library holds all of the daily newspapers for major cities in Illinois, and many of these papers devote considerable coverage to the university. Many other Illinois papers can be located using the Illinois Newspaper Project website. Various specialized collections of underground or "alternative" papers can also provide interesting context to movements and events on campus.

HPNL offers a variety of services to assist EUI students in doing historical research. For example, they offer help in formulating research strategies and in discovering and interpreting sources. Using the new digital viewer-scanners opens up many archival collections on microfilm. They are also spearheading ongoing newspaper digitization projects, which feature not only the campus newspaper, but the local Urbana Daily Courier as well, which can offer a different perspective on campus events. Stop by today to make an appointment with a librarian.

Please contact a librarian in the History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library in room 246 Library, call 333-1509, or visit HPNL Ask a Librarian for assistance with any of your research needs.

Reference Library

Overview

The Reference Library is located in room 200 of the Main Library, and provides information and instructional services that support the research needs of the Illinois community and the public-at-large. The collection contains nearly 25,000 volumes and represents the largest collection of reference material in the Illinois library system. This collection covers all disciplines with a particular emphasis on the humanities and social sciences.


Ethnography Resources in the Reference Library

The Reference Library contains material specific to the University of Illinois. Call numbers beginning with "C" and shelved between 378.999-379 of the wall collection (the part of the collection displayed around the room's exterior walls) are items related to the University of Illinois. These include alumni directories and registers, financial reports, operational budget information, salary reports, histories, and lists of faculty publications from 1908-1979.

Additional information about the people and places associated with the University can be found in:

  • General reference sources
  • Biography sources
  • Bibliography sources
  • General statistics, and
  • Print and electronic periodical indexes

For more information about using the collection, consult this guide on getting around the reference room.


Reference Help

Students and the general public can get help in person at the Information desk which is located on the second floor of the Main Library. Users can also get help by telephone (217-333-2290) or by using the Ask a Librarian service, which allows questions to be posed by email, chat, or instant messaging. Please don't hesitate to use the Reference Library as a primary contact for information, research assistance, and for referrals across disciplines.