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RBML Digitization Services Policy

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Rare Book & Manuscript Library maintains a firm and inclusive principle of making our books, manuscripts, and distinctive collections accessible to all types of audiences. Working in concert with the Digitization Services Unit, the RBML provides access to our materials through and the RBML’s section of the Digital Library. The RBML also offers in-house digitization services to fulfill patron requests for research and publication purposes. We encourage you to be mindful of limited staff capacity when making requests. The digitization coordinator determines potential fulfillment based on staff capacity and copyright restrictions.

Digitization to fulfill Patrons’ Requests

  • The creation of digital surrogates to fulfill patron requests is chiefly done in-house at the RBML digitization station.
  • Digitization of RBML rare books and archival collections follows a schedule of prices, which is found here. Digitization work is initiated after patrons submit payment. The Digitization Coordinator is responsible for invoicing patrons for digitization services.
  • RBML’s Ask-a-Curator is our public services interface to request digitization of rare books and archival collections.
  • RBML Curators review Ask-a-Curator digitization requests on a weekly basis. The verification of digitized titles through HathiTrust, Illinois Digital Library and Internet Archive, and provision of a pricing estimate of the digitization work are a part of this process. Copyright status or potential restrictions will be checked in advance of offering digitization services.
  • Due to copyright restrictions, digitization of TV and movie scripts is limited to personal research purposes. TV scripts are limited to a maximum of three episodes. Movie scripts are limited to specific chapters or sections, and in extraordinary cases could be extended to a full script.
  • Digitization of rare books and archival material is limited to 20 images or views. Requests beyond this limit will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Extensive digitization work follows a separate workflow that is handled in conjunction with Digitization Services.
  • The Digitization Coordinator handles Ask-a-Curator permission requests to publish RBML materials.
  • Digitization of RBML rare books and archival collections follows a schedule of prices, which is found Digitization work is initiated after patrons submit payment. The Digitization Coordinator is responsible for invoicing patrons for digitization services.
  • Digitization of large and special format materials, such as maps, newspapers, and visual materials is a separate service managed in conjunction with the Digitization Services unit (DS). Depending on DS’s current capacity and availability, the RBML may not be able to fulfill these requests.
  • Digitization requests for RBML materials are tracked using our Aeon system which is linked to the patron’s Reader account.
  • Digital files are managed and stored in the Box cloud file sharing system. Once payment in full is received, the Digitization Coordinator shares a link to release the Box files for the patron’s requests.

Digitization of Rare Books and Manuscripts

HathiTrust and the RBML Digital Collections Workflow

  • The Main Library Digitization Services Unit (DS) manages the production and lifecycle of RBML digital surrogates for HathiTrust and the RBML’s section of the Digital Library.
  • In order to amplify access and discovery of RBML rare books and archival collections, selection of materials is primarily based on their digital availability. The RBML will not invest digitization efforts for materials already existing in digital form on HathiTrust and other open digital libraries.
  • The physical stability and condition of RBML materials is a major consideration at the time of selection for digitization. Selected materials should be in stable condition and without integral deficiencies.
  • The process of selecting RBML rare books and archival collections for mass digitization is based on consensus between the Digitization Coordinator, the unit’s Curators, and Staff. Selection criteria are determined by curatorial priorities, descriptive status, copyright status, and grant digitization projects.
  • Assessment of cataloged records is required to assure up-to-date metadata and to rule out cataloging inaccuracies or inconsistencies. Likewise, manuscript collections are expected to be fully processed before entering the digitization queue.
  • Digitization transactions between the RBML and DS units are recorded in Aeon in a corresponding activity. Materials selected for digitization are stored in Medusa, the Library’s institutional repository and digital preservation service, in a corresponding project.
  • RBML materials are sent to the DS Unit according to a schedule agreed to by DS and the Digitization Coordinator. This is typically a monthly schedule.

Alternative Digitization Services

  • Digitization of RBML rare books or archival material selected for exhibits and events (partial pages) is mostly produced in-house. This type of digitization request should be discussed in advance with the Digitization Coordinator.