New Preservation Archive

News release courtesy of Dell :

Working with Dell, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has created a new digital archive for its university system that simplifies how it manages digital assets, including rare books and faculty intellectual property output such as research documents, papers and lectures — content typically produced in multiple digital formats.  The new archive reduces storage costs and streamlines the management, retention and protection of scholarly works through a solution based on the Dell DX Object Storage Platform and DuraSpace Open Source Fedora Commons Repository Software.  Critical for the university was the ability to meet today’s needs and to scale efficiently over time as digital content evolves and grows. More…

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Library Receives IMLS Grant

The University Library will receive a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) .  The Library will partner with the William R. and Clarice V. Spurlock Museum; the McLean County Museum of History; Heritage Preservation, Inc.; the Chicago History Museum; the Illinois Heritage Association; and the Illinois State Library to develop the Preservation Self-Assessment Program, a free computer-based tool that will help library, museum, and archives staff to conduct physical assessment and prioritization of preservation needs for paper-based and photographic materials. This tool will build upon the project director Jennifer Hain Teper’s previous work developing a similar tool for assessing audio-visual collections, and will produce a detailed preservation report prioritizing collection items in order of preservation need. The tool will be designed to allow interoperation with other emerging software tools such as the open-source Archives Space collections management tool. More…

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Online Ethics Resource Launched

Ethics CORE, an interactive resource designed to provide researchers and professionals in the sciences, social sciences, engineering, and mathematics with information on ethical practices and materials on Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR), is now available at . The University Library played an integral role in the $1.5 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant awarded to Illinois to develop the site, which is housed in the Grainger Engineering Library Information Center (see the 2010 project announcement at ). More…

EthicsCORE screenshot

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Apply for Data Purchase Program


The University Library is soliciting applications from faculty members and graduate students who need to purchase numeric or spatial data for their research. Through this Data Purchase Program, several grants  will be awarded to fund such data purchases. The deadline for first consideration is Monday, October 8, 2012 .

Visit for more details, including a description of the program and how to apply.

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

Replacement of Reading Room Windows

A Printers’ Marks pane will be removed from an east-facing center window in the Main Library’s Reading Room on September 10 prior to the removal of the entire steel frame and glass window.  It will be replaced with an extruded aluminum, thermally-insulated unit that will replicate the existing window details.  Upon completion of the new window installation, the Printers’ Marks pane will be re-installed in a mounting that is specifically designed to hold it in its original location within the window opening. The Printers’ Marks pane will be kept in a secure location during the window replacement.  Seven additional windows in the Reading Room will also be replaced in the same manner.

For more information about the Main Library’s Reading Room windows, please visit .

Printers' Marks Window

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13-millionth Volume Acquired

News & Events

Tales of Ise

The Library at Illinois has added its 13-millionth book to its collections, maintaining its status as the largest public university library in the country. Ise Monogatari (or Tales of Ise ), the first illustrated Japanese printed book, is an anonymous compilation of 209 poems and 125 episodes from a poet’s life. Enormously popular, Tales of Ise recounts the amorous exploits of an unnamed lover/poet, often identified with Ariwara no Narihira (825-80), one of the six “sages” of Japanese poetry.

The University Library’s copy is the first printed edition of the classic work and was published in 1608 by Suminokura Soan, a wealthy entrepreneur and art connoisseur, in co-operation with Hon’ami Koetsu, the famous painter, calligrapher, and polymath, and Nakanoin Michikatsu, a nobleman, literary scholar, and editor. The illustrator of the book is unknown, though some have attributed the woodcuts to Koetsu.

Tales of Ise is also one of the earliest Japanese books printed with moveable type. Soan’s press, which he established at Saga village near Kyoto, produced the much sought after “Saga-bon” imprints, of which this is the most famous. The elegant type and delicate woodcuts appear on five different hand-made colored papers.

Tales of Ise was reprinted eight times by 1610. Its illustrations became the model for the iconography of this text and for the general style of Japanese book illustration for the next two centuries. This rare first edition is distinguished by Nakanoin Michikatsu’s brush-drawn kakihan (or seal). The presence of his signature in manuscript indicates that this copy may have been presented as a gift.

“The University of Illinois houses an excellent collection of 17th- to 19th-century illustrated Japanese books in its Yamagiwa Collection. This new acquisition will be a boon to scholars and students of Japanese literature and culture at our University, and a welcomed addition for anyone who loves beautiful books,” said Valerie Hotchkiss, director of The Rare Book & Manuscript Library. “We have a 15th-century manuscript of the text, as well as later imprints from the 17th and 18th centuries, but to be able to add the first edition, which is also the first illustrated Japanese book and one of the earliest examples of moveable wooden type in Japan, well, this is really spectacular!”

The 13-millionth volume was acquired through the generosity of the Simpson Family of Coshocton, Ohio. Robert E. and Juanita J. Simpson have been long-time Library Friends, supporting the Library through their numerous gifts since 1987. Along the way, they established the University Librarian Deanship, the Rare Book & Manuscript Library Chair, and the Senior Conservator positions.

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