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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Report to the Digital Library Federation
October 15, 2000


  • Collections, Services, and Systems
  • Projects and Programs
  • Specific Digital Library Challenges

    I. Collections, Services, and Systems

    A. Collections

    DeLIver - A Web-Accessible Testbed of Journal Articles in XML Format
    DeLIver (Desktop Link to Virtual Engineering Resources) is an online testbed containing more than 60,000 full-content journal articles in XML format from more than 50 engineering, physics and computer science journals published from 1995 to the present. Collaborating publishers contributing to the testbed on an ongoing basis include the American Institute of Physics, the American Physical Society, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the Institute of Electrical Engineers. Sample issues and reference books in SGML / XML format have also been contributed by other publishers, including Elsevier Science, the Naval Research Laboratory, ASM International, and the Association for Computing Machinery. The testbed is accessible via the World Wide Web (campus affiliates and authorized users only) and includes a full-text search interface that supports searching of specific parts of articles (e.g., section headings, figure captions, formulas, references). Items can be delivered real time to the end-user in XML, HTML, or (in most cases) PDF. Item-level metadata is included in the testbed, with linkages to related articles and resources both inside and outside of the testbed. The DeLIver testbed was initially built under the auspices of a DLI-I grant awarded jointly by NSF, NASA, and DARPA. It is continued with support from CNRI and a Collaborating Partners Program comprised of nine publishers and professional societies. For further information about the DeLIver testbed, visit the website or contact Tom Habing.

    Kolb-Proust Archives
    The Kolb-Proust Archives makes available to scholars world-wide the research notes and documentation of Philip Kolb, professor of French at the University of Illinois and editor of the correspondence of Marcel Proust. After coming to the University as a professor of French in 1945, Philip Kolb worked indefatigably on the editing of Proust's correspondence until just before his death in 1992. That same year saw the completion of his 21-volume set of the correspondence issued by the publisher Plon, in Paris. Kolb left behind a treasure-trove of research notes concerning Proust's letters which offer researchers information relating not only to Proust scholarship, but also to turn-of-the-century French intellectual life in general. Henri Bergson, the French philosopher, and Gabriel Fauré, the composer, are among the many persons of various professions represented in Kolb's notes. These handwritten and printed notes are being encoded in XML (using the TEI schema) and being made available through the online Archive. This resource complements one of the largest existing collections of original Proust letters, stored in the University's Rare Book and Special Collections Library. The Kolb-Proust Archive was developed with financial assistance from the Gould Foundation and the Georges Lurcy Foundation.

    Aerial Photographs of Illinois Counties
    Digital preservation of and access to aerial photography of Illinois was the focus of a joint pilot project of the University's Map and Geography Library, Digital Imaging and Media Technology Initiative, and Geographic Modeling Systems Laboratory. Based on benchmarks previously established by the Map and Geography Library, the Illinois State Geological Survey, and Scantech Color Systems, Inc., of Champaign, this project scanned photographs at high resolution, utilized metadata standards of the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC), and developed protocols and an interface to make over 1,000 images of scanned photography of Illinois flown between 1935 and 1955 available through a searchable database on the Web. Support for digitization of this collection was provided by the Illinois State Library.

    Historical Maps of Illinois and the Northwest Territory
    This collection includes digital images of approximately 85 maps dating back over 350 years. The original maps are housed in the University's Map & Geography Library and Rare Book and Special Collections Library. The maps depict North America, the Northwest Territory, the state of Illinois, and counties and townships within the state, as well as historical maps of North America, ranging in chronological coverage from 1650 to 1994. Using an implementation of the MrSIDTM image server (Lizardtech Corp), users of this Website can zoom in on map images to view greater detail and can pan across individual images. The University was among a select group of institutions approached by Lizardtech to beta test the MrSID software on a Windows NT Server platform. TM

    ABSEES Online
    The American Bibliography of Slavic and East European Studies (ABSEES) has been compiled continuously since 1956 under the auspices of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies (AAASS). ABSEES has been based at the University of Illinois since 1991. ABSEES covers North American scholarship on Eastern Europe, Russia, and the former Soviet Union. It contains bibliographic records for journal articles, books, book chapters, book reviews, dissertations, and selected government publications. The online version of ABSEES was launched in the early 1990's and is currently available to colleges, universities, and libraries for an annual subscription fee.

    Images of Plants Toxic to Animals Database
    The Veterinary Medicine Library has created a collection of digitized images of poisonous plants. The images (and associated information about them) were assembled using resources owned by the Veterinary Medicine Library, resources of the University's Poisonous Plant Garden, a collection of mounted poisonous plant specimens maintained by the College of Veterinary Medicine, and reference notes from the College's toxicology course. Plants are listed both by common and scientific names. Support for this project was provided by Dr. Florence Dunbar and the University's Educational Technology Board.

    Digitized Advertising Exhibit
    Samples of print adversiting included in the Library's D'Arcy and Woodward Advertising Collections have been digitized and made available on the Web. Together these collections contain more than 4 million print ads, documenting more than 100 years of consumer culture in America. Only a sampling of items from these collections have so far been digitized.

    A product category online index to the complete D'Arcy Advertising Collection is also available.

    Library-Sponsored Colloquiums Online
    The Library Colloquium Committee regularly sponsors lectures and presentations on topics of interest to the faculty and staff of the University Library. Audio from many of these lectures has been digitized and made available over the Web in RealAudio format.

    B. Services

    Digital Media Resource Center
    The Digital Media Resource Center is a workshop/lab devoted to the development of digital projects, primarily in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. A part of the Digital Imaging & Media Technology Initiative, the Digital Media Resource Center, with the support of a generous equipment grant from the Intel Corporation, provides access to high quality scanning equipment, computer workstations, multimedia development software, and personalized technical support. Projects carried out in the lab include the creation of image databases, development and delivery of multimedia research and instructional materials and the digitization of various media.

    Illinois Researcher Information Services (IRIS)
    The Illinois Researcher Information Service (IRIS) was established in 1979. IRIS was originally set up to provide information on federal and private funding opportunities to the University of Illinois community. Over time, that mission grew to include other institutions of higher education in the United States. Today, IRIS offers three Web-based services to 193 subscribing colleges, universities, and research centers. These services include: a searchable database of current funding opportunities; an alert service providing regular notice of new funding opportunities of interest (based on individualized search profiles); and a researcher expertise service, allowing users to create and place on file electronic "biosketches," complete with links to digitized publications and multimedia.

    Electronic Reserves Services
    The University's Chemistry Library, Library & Information Science Library, and Undergraduate Library have all undertaken pilot e-reserves projects over the course of the last several years. (Access to these e-reserves sites is limited to campus affiliates.) Based on the success of these initial forays, the University Library has issued a policy on electronic reserves and is considering additional e-reserves projects in these and other units.

    Undergraduate Library's Online Question Board
    As part of the reference services provided to faculty, students, and staff, the Undergraduate Library has provided a "Question Board" service since 1972. This service is now available online (see:). All questions (and answers) back to 1989 (more than 3,800 questions altogether) have been digitized and indexed and are now searchable through this site.

    C. Online Finding Aids

    University Archives Holdings Database
    The University of Illinois Archives has developed an on-line searchable database including summary descriptions for each record series or manuscript collection, with links to complete finding aids where they exist. Future plans call for the integration of controlled subject searching and cross-mapping of database fields to Dublin Core elements which will be included in the generated HTML pages. This online finding aid is Web-accessible.

    EAD / XML Finding Aids Integrating Digitized Images
    The University of Illinois Archives has begun delivering archival finding aids encoded in Encoded Archival Description (EAD) according the protocol of the EAD cookbook. For Web viewing, the finding aids are transformed into HTML using XSL and CSS stylesheets. The system features a consistent, user- friendly interface based on a hyperlinked navigation bar. With funding provided by the New York Times, digital facsimiles of many manuscripts and documents in the James B. Reston Papers are being added to the finding aid as digital archival objects. Future project plans call for the inclusion of search engines both within and across finding aids as well as the development of scripts to automate the tagging process. To date, three finding aids have been encoded and are available on-line:
    http://www.library.uiuc.edu/ahx/ead/ua/2620120/2620120f.html - The James Reston Papers;
    http://www.library.uiuc.edu/ahx/ead/ua/1502022/1502022f.html - The Joseph Casagrande Papers;
    http://www.library.uiuc.edu/ahx/ead/ua/2620076/2620076f.html - The 3rd Armored Division Association Archives

    Other Online Finding Aids
    Several other units of the University Library have created online finding aids describing digital and non-digital elements of the Library's collections. These include:

    II. Projects and Programs

    Digital Cultural Heritage Community Project
    Using elementary grade curriculum units and the Illinois State Board of Education Learning Standards as a driving force, the Digital Cultural Heritage Community Project involves selection of materials from several East Central Illinois museums, libraries and archives which are digitized and included in an online Web-accessible collaborative database. The database, which is available in area school classrooms for use in the social sciences, has been designed according to nationally accepted standards. The artifacts are digitized according to Library of Congress standards for scanning materials, and indexed using the Dublin Core metadata format. Partners include:


    D-Lib Test Suite & Collaborating Partners Program
    The DeLIver Testbed (described above) is one of six testbeds comprising the D-Lib Test Suite (coordinated by the Corporation for National Research Initiatives with financial support from DARPA). Under the auspices of the D-Lib Test Suite Project and the associated Collaborating Partners Program, the University Library is investigating numerous issues and technologies relating to the implementation and use of online journals, reference books, and related library resources. Currently under investigation as part of this work are technologies such as: SGML, XML, XHTML, MML, XSLT, XSL-FO, and CSS, metadata standards and schemas such as: RDF, Dublin Core, and the Open Archives Metadata Set, and a variety of issues relating to: metadata harvesting and indexing, full-text search, retrieval, display, and linking, and e-journal archiving (see also below).

    Implementation of EBind XML Page Turner Application
    The University Archives is refining and revising the EBind SGML page-turner software developed by the University of California Berkeley. (EBind allows for display of digitized books, manuscripts, and other text resources.) The software and scripts are being made XML-compliant and will integrate with finding aids encoded according to the protocols of the EAD Cookbook. The project also includes the development of freeware tools to automate the process of mounting digital collections on the web. When complete, the tools and scripts will be made available through the EAD help pages.

    Illinois Newspaper Project
    The University of Illinois at UC is the home institution for the Illinois Newspaper Project, a participant in the United States Newspaper Program which is a national effort to preserve, inventory and catalog newspapers of the United States. There is also a separate INP site located at the Chicago Historical Society, and staff members there are concentrating on newspaper collections in the Chicago area. The Project has so far completed cataloging and inventorying newspaper collections held at the Illinois State Historical Library (Springfield, Illinois) and at the University of Illinois at UC. Cataloging and inventorying of newspaper collections held elsewhere in the state is well underway.

    The project has built and maintains a Web-accessible database of newspaper titles so far cataloged and inventoried.

    Morrill I: An Outreach Information System Prototype
    In conjunction with the College of Agricultural, Environmental and Consumer Sciences (ACES) and the Illinois Council on Food and Agricultural Research (CFAR), the University Library is creating a prototype of an online outreach information system. In final form, such an outreach information system would provide single point access to a variety of information resources produced by ACES units, CFAR researchers, and other state, national and international scholars. Included would be both digitized versions of print documents and information resources available online only. Targeted audience would include not only other academics and Agricultural Extension faculty and staff, but also residents of the state of Illinois and other practitioners normally targeted by Agricultural extension and outreach programs.

    III. Specific Digital Library Challenges

    Define, develop, and standardize on techniques and technologies to support local resolution of links to digital resources.
    Most existing URL and object identifier schemes in widespread use today assume a single authoritative digital instance of a given digital resource (e.g., online article or paper). In practice a given digital document instance may be replicated in multiple locations to facilitate use and/or licensing of access. In conjunction with CrossRef, the International DOI Federation, CNRI, and DLF, the University of Illinois will develop a prototype local resolution server for linking DOI-based citations to local copies of digital resources. A related prototype which will make use of the SFX / OpenURL protocol is being developed by OhioLink as part of the same effort.

    Develop technologies to enable and facilitate cross-repository search and retrieval of metadata.
    One purpose of metadata is to facilitate discovery of digital information. Interoperability of metadata schemas is essential to this purpose, as is the ability to harvest or otherwise search across metadata held in different, independent information resource repositories. As part of the University's participation in the D-Lib Test Suite, the University Library has developed and implemented a prototype, cross-repository index (based on the Dublin Core metadata schema) which includes holdings from 4 of the 6 D-Lib Test Suite Testbeds. Metadata in several schemas was transformed (using XSLT and custom software) into a RDF / Dublin Core schema optimized for search and retrieval (see http://dli.grainger.uiuc.edu/DLIBMeta/searchform.asp). Further investigations are planned as part of the D-Lib Test Suite Project. Also under consideration are related collaborations with other CIC and DLF institutions. Extensive work on this issue is also being done by the Open Archives Initiative.

    Develop standards to insure reliable long-term archiving of journals and similar information resources provided in digital formats.
    Experience with print information resources highlights the importance and value of a well-planned preservation and archival programs. Complete and widely accepted standards for preserving and properly archiving digital information resources have yet to be created. Working with participants in the DeLIver Collaborating Partners Program, the University Library is currently developing plans to utilize the DeLIver Testbed to investigate E-Journal archiving issues in greater depth. The University Library is also exploring possible collaborations with other CIC and DLF institutions regarding further research into these issues.

    Improve techniques and technologies for rendering of mathematics and other complex text structures encoded in XML.
    While XML is proving a robust format for the creation and dissemination of most text information, XML still lags other encoding schemes (e.g., PDF, PS, TeX) when it comes to documents containing complex text structures and artifacts such as mathematics. Using the body of materials in the DeLIver Testbed, the University Library is investigating the potential of XSLT, XSL-FO, CSS, MML, and the latest browser and browser plug-in innovations to improve and enhance the quality of rendering of mathematics encoded in XML.

    Enhance the ability of end-users to navigate available collections of online databases and information resources.
    The number and scope of available online databases and finding aids for locating information is overwhelming most users and many professional librarians. There's a clear need for improved techniques for identifying which database or information resource locating tool is optimal for use to meet a particular information need. The University Library is investigating 2 approaches to dealing with this problem. Work at the University's Grainger Engineering Library Information Center is focused on developing reliable techniques to simultaneously search multiple online databases and finding aids. Concurrently researchers at the University's Reference Library have built a prototype online database selection tool that allows end-users to narrow the selection of databases germane to their particular information need.

    Please send comments or suggestions.
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