Library Archivists Receive Award

Two University Library Archivists Honored with 2008 Andrew Mellon Foundation Award

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library was honored in Washington DC on December 8th with a $100,000 Mellon Award for Technology Collaboration (MATC) for leadership and development work on Archon™—a set of web-based tools for describing archives and manuscripts collections and for providing on-line access to related digital objects, such as photographs and electronic records.

Chris Prom, assistant university archivist and associate professor of library administration, accepted the award on behalf of the University at the Fall Task Force meeting of the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI).  Prom and Archon Project co-director Scott Schwartz (archivist for fine and applied arts and director of the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music), developed the software with three of their students: Chris Rishel, Kyle Fox, and Paul Sorensen.  The software was first released in August 2006 and has gone through several refinements.

“The University Library commends Christopher Prom, Scott Schwartz, and the entire Archon team on this important award,” said professor Paula Kaufman, university librarian and dean of libraries for the University of Illinois.  “Archon is not only an invaluable resource to this Library and its community, but to archives, libraries, and museums around the world.”

MATC Awards recognize not-for-profit organizations that are making substantial contributions of their own resources toward the development of open source software and the fostering of collaborative communities to sustain open source development.  The $100,000 award recognizes highly significant contributions to open source projects offering benefits to more or larger constituencies.  Archon was honored alongside some very well-known projects, including the Kerebos network authentication protocol, the Greenstone and Omeka digital library software, and the Open OceanMap Project.

“We feel humbled by this honor, particularly given the reputation of the other awardees,” said Prom.  “For the past several years, we’ve been cobbling together funding from internal research grants and our student wage budgets.  We knew we had a good idea, but to have this confirmation feels extraordinary.”

The committee that selected Archon included Sir Timothy Berners-Lee (widely acknowledged as the inventor of the World Wide Web), Mitchell Baker (chief executive officer, Mozilla Corporation), John Seely Brown (former chief scientist, Xerox Corp.), Vinton Cerf (vice president and chief Internet evangelist, Google, Inc.), John Gage (now of Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers and former chief researcher at Sun Microsystems), and Tim O’Reilly (founder and chief executive officer, O’R eilly Media).

Archon is used by many institutions worldwide, ranging from major scientific and research institutions such as the University of Florida and the Niels Bohr Archives, to smaller college archives including Wheaton College in Illinois.

According to Leah Broaddus, university archivist at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, “ Archon takes our profession very close to our visions of instant worldwide dissemination and access without asking us to forego the traditional benefits of finding aid structure and controlled vocabulary.  Archon makes us digital, without asking us to be programmers.”

Archon gives archivists, special collections librarians, and museum curators the ability to easily develop a collections management system and website containing searchable finding aids, digital objects, and electronic records.

“Archon was developed especially to assist the many small repositories who often lack the technological and financial resources to make their collections easily accessible to worldwide audiences.  This was one of the primary reasons why we made the decision to make Archon freely available to all archives, libraries, and museums,” said Schwartz.

“Archon has been a godsend,” notes John Lyles, archivist of the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries headquartered in Columbus, GA. “Our workflow has been streamlined, increasing our productivity. Public access has been greatly expanded through the creation of a searchable website and digital library. Impressive accomplishments especially when you consider that Archon had very little impact on our financial resources.”

The system currently uses a single web-based platform for data entry and delivery.  Prom and Schwartz have plans to make Archon even better—for both archival staff and for those who use archives in their research.  They acknowledge that the generous Mellon award will make that goal much easier to achieve.

For more information about Archon, visit .

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Library Awarded Prestigious Grant

Professor Paula Kaufman and Dr. Zhan Furui sign an agreement establishing a cooperative and cultural exchange between American and Chinese librarians.
Professor Paula Kaufman and Dr. Zhan Furui sign an agreement
establishing a cooperative and cultural exchange between
American and Chinese librarians.
Photo: tony brown/

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library
Awarded Prestigious Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library has received a Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program Grant for $499,582 from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

The grant was announced on November 16, 2008 and the agreement was signed by professor Paula Kaufman, university librarian and dean of libraries for the University of Illinois, and Dr. Zhan Furui, director of the National Library of China and president of the Library Society of China.  The agreement is one component of the new Partnership for Cultural Exchange established by IMLS and the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China.  The Ministry of Culture provides additional funding for the program.

The “Think Globally, Act Globally” agreement establishes a cooperative and cultural exchange between American and Chinese librarians.  Under the agreement, the Asian Library and the Mortenson Center from the University of Illinois will partner with the Chinese American Librarians Association (CALA), and the Library Society of China.  These organizations will work together on the implementation of a two-year pilot project to enhance communication and relations between American and Chinese librarians and to enrich the variety of information and services that U.S. librarians can offer their users.  Activities will include training in the United States and the People’s Republic of China, and the development of a website for publically available Chinese information resources for use in U.S. libraries.

“The University Library is primed to collaborate with the Chinese Ministry of Culture to make this proposed project a success with benefit to Chinese and U.S. librarians and the library users they serve,” said Kaufman.

“It is a rare and great opportunity for librarians from the United States and China to work together on such a large scale,” said Dr. Shuyong Jiang, project director/principal investigator of the grant. “I am confident that this grant will have a significant impact on library partnership on a global stage and on future collaborations among librarians between these two countries.”

For more information about the project, please visit or contact Dr. Jiang at .

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute’s mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute, please visit .

Do you have a story you’d like added to the Library News & Events? If so, please contact Heather Murphy ( ).

MyCopy Books Available

University Library Participates in MyCopy Pilot Project

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library is the first library to offer Springer titles in MyCopy format.  MyCopy is an extension of Springer’s eBook collection—the most comprehensive online collection of scientific, technological, and medical books.  Over 11,500 titles are available in MyCopy format exclusively through SpringerLink ( ).

The University of Illinois Library is one of 21 institutions chosen to participate in the MyCopy pilot project offering and the first to go live online.  Patrons can find Springer eBooks online through Easy Search (Search Assistant), the Library Catalog, and many of the Library’s databases at .  MyCopy books through SpringerLink are also accessible through Google Book Search ( ).

“The University of Illinois Library is pleased to offer all of its patrons the ability to purchase personal copies of the Springer eBooks instantly at an affordable price,” said Thomas Teper, associate university librarian for collections and associate dean of libraries.

MyCopy softcover books sell for $24.95 each (including shipping and handling).  English language titles (including monographs, textbooks, reference works, and handbooks) with a copyright year of 2005 or later (832 pages or less) are currently available.  Springer manages the order processing, production, and delivery.

This project represents a very innovative way in which to look at both publisher and library services for electronic content in the future and MyCopy is a great value-add to our site license for these ebooks,” said Wendy Allen Shelburne, assistant professor, acquisitions.

Springer is the world’s second-largest publisher of journals in the STM (Science, Technology, Medicine) sector, the largest publisher of STM books, and the largest business-to-business publisher in the German-language area.  For more information, please visit .

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