Digital Content Creation



Digital Content Creation

415 Library, MC-522
1408 W. Gregory
Urbana, IL 61801

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Current Imaging Projects in Digital Content Creation


The Motley Collection of Theatre and Costume Design


Image from Motley CollectionThe Motley Collection of Theatre and Costume Design, a valuable source of documentation on the history of theatre, is housed in the Rare Book and Manuscripts Library. It is a rare collection of original materials on the theatre comprising over 5000 items from more than 150 productions in England and the United States. These materials include costume and set designs, sketches, notes, photographs, prop lists, storyboards, and swatches of fabric. The Motley Group consisted of Margaret Harris, her sister Sophia Harris, and Elizabeth Montgomery, who designed sets and costumes from 1932 to 1976 for plays by Shakespeare and modern classics, opera, ballet, and motion pictures. Their designs were used in productions in the West End of London, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, the English National Opera, and in the United States on Broadway and the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Originally digitized from microfiche, the collection is now being digitized from the original watercolors and drawings.







Maps of Africa to 1900

Map of Africa

The Maps of Africa to 1900 digital collection contains images of maps listed in the bibliography Maps of Africa to 1900: A Checklist of Maps in Atlases and Geographical Journals in the Collections of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (Bassett & Scheven, Urbana: Graduate School of Library and Information Science, 2000). As such, this collection mines not only the Library's map collections, but also its extensive collection of 19th century atlases and geographical journals, including the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society (United Kingdom), the Bulletin de la Société de Géographie de Paris (France), and Petermanns Geographische Mittheilungen (Germany). Bassett's and Scheven's original bibliography lists 2,416 maps of which nearly 78 percent date from the 19th century. Africanists and historians of cartography are drawn to this century because the map of the continent changed so rapidly in the wake of European explorations, conquests, and colonization (Bassett & Scheven, p. iii). About a quarter of the collection dates from the sixteenth century, 9 percent from the seventeenth, and 13 percent from the eighteenth century. The Library is digitizing as many of the maps as possible, condition permitting. Maps are added to the collection as they are completed.

Emblem Books

Image from Emblem BooksThe University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Rare Book and Manuscript Library holds an internationally renowned collection of emblem books that is among the most highly utilized primary source materials of its type worldwide. The German emblem books were chosen for this digitization project due to the strength of the University Library collection, the overall physical condition of the books, the on-site faculty expertise and interest in both German and Library and Information Science, and the strong potential for further collaboration with an already actively engaged international community of scholars


Sousa Archives and Center for American Music Instrument Collection


Instrument From Sousa Collection The large number of music instruments held by the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music is unusual among archives across the United States. These instruments, and the Center's archival collections, document the impact of music technology and manufacturing on the performance practices of American military, civilian, and collegiate bands during the 19th and 20th centuries. Information about the clarinets, flutes, and sarrusophones, to name a few, is accessible to the public via the Center's website and the collections that these instruments comprise are described following archival standards.

Even though collection descriptions are available online and the Archives  receive hundreds of reference requests every month from people around the world, there are not enough words to accurately describe the differences between an 1843 Bb Clarinet manufactured by G. Zenuker and an 1861 Bb Clarinet manufactured by Stumpel with decorative ivory inlay to a researcher in California who is tracking down the musical instrument trade in the United States during the 19th century. Digitization of the Center's artifacts will significantly enhance access to this collection.





Harry Partch Archive

Harry Partch Image

Harry Partch (1901-1974) was an American composer, theorist, instrument maker and performer. In the 1920s, Partch began work on what was to be a lifelong passion, i.e. on acoustic and harmonic properties of musical instruments, and on the construction of his own musical instruments for the purpose of performing his own music. It is difficult to over-estimate the importance of the University of Illinois Music and Performing Arts Library's collection of Partch material, the most extensive in the world. Interest in Partch continues to increase, not least because he was such a unique musician -- a complete original -- but also because of his place within American music. By making his scores, correspondence, and other material available in digital form to the world, the University of Illinois is making a significant contribution to musicology and to the discipline of music as a whole. More information about Partch and about UIUC's collection can be found on the Special Collections page of our library website, at:

Project Unica

Image From Project UnicaProject Unica is an initiative of The Rare Book & Manuscript Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to produce high quality digital facsimiles of printed books that exist in only one copy. The concept of a "unicum" is difficult for the average library user to understand, since printed books, by their very nature, exist in more than one copy-that's the genius of Gutenberg's invention, after all. But fate and circumstance has sometime led to the destruction of every copy, save one, of a printed book. And the University of Illinois has quite a number of absolutely unique printed books. The aim of Project Unica is to digitize these supremely rare items and to provide a simple and efficient way of getting this valuable and unique information to scholars when and where they need it. The records of the books and the digital facsimiles are also available from institution's online catalog, Illinois Harvest, and OCLC.