About Ximin Mi

Ximin Mi is a second year GSLIS graduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Right now she is working at two departments of the university library as a graduate assistant: Research Reference and Scholarly Services, and International and Area Studies Library. Her academic interests lie in reference, instruction, and data analysis. She is passionate to explore the new roles libraries will play in academia and community. Most of her blog posts discuss how the roles libraries play in society change, and how these changes are affected and affecting the society.

Europeana- Europe’s largest digital library

Europeana.eu is an internet portal that provide access to millions of digital and digitized books, paintings, films, museum objects and archival records that have been digitized throughout Europe. It is so far the largest digital library in Europe.

One of the logos of the Europeana Digital Library.

One of the logos of the Europeana Digital Library.

This project began in 2005 as a conversation among national leaders in European countries about building an integrated library to share European culture with the world. The result of this conversation was the creation of European Digital Library Network (EDLnet), launched in 2008 with the Beta version. It started with 4.5 million cross-discipline, cross-domain digital items from over 1,000 contributing organizations all across Europe, including national libraries, galleries and museum collections, and so on. Europeana came out to replace EULnet in February 2009. This collection hit 10 million digital objects in 2010. Up till today, more than 2,000 institutions across Europe have contributed to Europeana, some of the best known ones include Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the British Library and the Louvre. There are also plenty of regional and local collections, including archives and museums from members of the European Union contributing to this collection. Some interesting items in this collection include digitized Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer, the works of Charles Darwin and Isaac Newton and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s music pieces.

With such an impressive collection, Europeana tries to make active use of its digital objects and share them with the world. To achieve this goal, they work hard on customizing their website. Their browsing and search functions are also well designed. They set up different organizing groups for browsing: fields, titles, creators, subjects, dates/ periods, places for browsing. When users search a term, the search box will show up other relevant and more specific search terms as a drop-down list to choose from.
Serving as an online portal, Europeana does not have the full content available on their website. However, on every item’s record page, a link guides users to the host library. Users can follow the link to the host library to use the materials. Europeana contributing libraries have open download link to their digital materials. On an item’s record page, there are links to share on social networks, or sent to email. There is also a Wikipedia link so that users can read more about it on Wiki. Also, the record can also be translated into 40 major languages around the world.

    Interior de les Àligues, posteriorment seu de la Universitat de Girona. (Public domain image accessed through the Europeana Digital Library.)

Interior de les Àligues, posteriorment seu de la Universitat de Girona. (Public domain image accessed through the Europeana Digital Library.)

Another neat feature of Europeana is that curates digital exhibitions on various themes. They bring up items related to the theme and attach them with detailed information. This collection is still growing: check the new content page for their recent additions. They are also experimenting with new projects, such as 3D ICONS ( digitizing archaeological monuments and buildings in 3D), ATHENA (aggregating museum content and promotes standards for museum digitization and metadata), Europeana Regia (digitizing royal manuscripts from Medieval and Renaissance Europe), and many more.

1.Europeana. http://www.europeana.eu/
2.Europeana-wikipedia. http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Europeana

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The International Center for Photography and Photography Resources at Illinois

Located in the center of Midtown Manhattan in New York City, the International Center for Photography (ICP) has served as a photography museum, school, and research center since it opened in 1974. During its 40 years in operation, the ICP expanded its collections, exhibits, and educational programs, making it an excellent resource for international users interested in photography.

About the ICP Collection

ICP’s permanent collection of photography comprised of more than 100,000 photographs in a variety of formats. The collection includes vintage photographs, as well as negatives, contact sheets, slides, and cased images and spans the history of the photographic medium, from daguerreotypes to gelatin silver and digital chromogenic prints. The Center’s strongest collection is American and European documentary photography from the 1930s through the 1960s. ICP also owns comprehensive archives of the works of Robert Capa, Cornell Capa, Gerda Taro, Chim (David Seymour), Roman Vishniac, and Weegee (Arthur Fellig), as well as works by members of the Photo League and photographers of the Farm Security Administration. It also has substantial holdings of work by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Robert Frank, Andre Kertesz, Lisette Model, Gordon Parks, Aaron Siskind, James VanDerZee, and Garry Winogrand. In addition, ICP’s collection also includes a distinctive survey of vernacular photography, including photographic albums, commercial photography, and real photo postcards. Finally, the ICP also has an extensive collection of significant photographic magazines such as Vu, Regards, Picture Post, Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung, Arbeiter Illustrierte Zeitung, and Life. Their recent collection building efforts are made to purchase important works by Eugéne Atget, Bill Brandt, Marco Breuer, Harry Callahan, Chim (David Seymour), Nan Goldin, André Kertész, Gustav Klutsis, Vik Muniz, Suzanne Opton, Terry Richardson, Peter Sekaer, Christer Strömholm, Maurice Tabard, and Pinar Yolacan. [1]

Because of the large number of works in the collection, not all are currently cataloged and available online. All cataloged items are available in eMuseum, which is ICP’s open database for users to search and browse the collection.They are working on cataloging more items and have them available through eMuseum. When clicking in an item catalog, high quality image of the item is available with a brief record of Artist, Subject, Dimensions, Medium, and Credit Line. Some items also list copyright information. [2]

Item Record

Item Record

ICP Museum Education

ICP makes full use of this rich collection to facilitate multiple education programs, including guided and self-guided tours, interpretative materials, and events for educators. Guided tour are designed for visitors at different age ranges: Grades K–6, Grades 7–12, New York City Public Schools, K–12, College Students & Seniors: Adults. Self-guided groups can explore the museum exhibitions at their own pace. The museum designs guides for teachers from elementary school, middle school and high school to prepare their knowledge about exhibitions before taking their students to the center. ICP also has family guides for families to learn more the past, current, and future exhibitions. These documents are prepared in PDF format. These resources help build patrons’ visual literacy and critical thinking skills, and introduce them to professional photography techniques. They also have classes for continuing education, international students, teen students, and online students. [3]

ICP School Open House

UIUC Library Photography Resources

UIUC library also has rich photography related resources. We are holding more than four thousand photography related books and journals in our catalog. We also a large number of items in our digital image archives. [4] [5] All affiliated users and community members can use them in the library or check them out. We also actively work with Interlibrary loan system to share our collections with other libraries.

U of I catalog items for photography

U of I catalog items for photography

U of I archive materials: photography

U of I archive materials: photography

Contact the library to get more information about using this collection:

1408 W. Gregory Dr. | Urbana, IL 61801




1. International Center for Photography website: http://www.icp.org/

2. International Center for Photography Research Center: http://www.icp.org/research-center

3. International Center for Photography School: http://www.icp.org/school

4. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign photography collection: http://vufind.carli.illinois.edu/vf-uiu/Search/Home?lookfor=photography&type=all&start_over=1&submit=Find&search=new&filter[]=topicStr:%22Photography%22

5. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign digital image archives: http://archives.library.illinois.edu/archon/?p=digitallibrary/digitallibrary

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Sustainability Web Resources at Web Archiving Service

One of academic libraries’ most important missions is to support local and global scholarship by providing comprehensive resources, such as academic publications, government documents, or non-governmental resources. Traditionally, most of these materials were provided in print and other physical formats. Now, however, an increasing amount of information is published and spread out over the web, including ephemera like news clippings, photographs, and other artifacts. This transformation makes it hard to ensure stable, long-term access to information for scholarly research. Web Archiving Services (WAS) is an initiative to address this issue.

Screenshot of the World Sustainable Development Web Archive webpage.

The World Sustainable Development Web Archive, curated by the International & Area Studies Library.

About the WAS initiative

WAS is an initiative of the University of California. It aims to help libraries preserve web information on a wide range of subjects and in many formats for stable, long-lasting academic use and to keep citations relevant as websites change. The archive covers many subjects, including historical events, geography, environment, engineering and more. The digital content is securely preserved in its digital preservation repository, the California Digital Library, for access and management. The archived content is open for the public to search and browse and users can freely use all content without special copyright restrictions.[i]


At present, around 60 institutions nationwide are participating in this project. The UIUC Library is the only participant in Illinois. The International and Area Studies Library partnered with WAS to create the World Sustainable Development Web Archive. The archive covers online resources on environmental sustainability from non-US Non-Governmental Organizations from all over the world [ii]. This archiving project is an effort to further develop our collection, to fulfill our library mission, and facilitate future user needs.

Our WAS archive aligns with the Library’s mission by building cross-regional primary source materials on environment sustainability for emerging research and teaching in relevant areas that IAS aims to support. The Library aims to develop rich digital collections of primary source materials of interest to area studies scholars and scholars focusing on thematic areas that rely heavily upon area studies knowledge: the environmental sustainability collection fits both demands.  An example of this includes the economic development, climate change, and the transition to renewable energy research team that consists of area studies faculty with expertise in South Asia, Africa, and Latin America from geography, sociology, agricultural and consumer economics, and political science. Their collaboration represents a unique, yet growing, trend in interdisciplinary research.

We also hope this project will inspire innovation and collaboration among area studies librarians within IAS and researchers from related fields. We will work to initiate more collaborative collection building projects like this one and warmly welcome area studies and interdisciplinary researchers to use our resources.

In the first stage, we have archived 43 web sites covering Latin America, South Asia, East Asia, Middle East, Africa and East Europe. These current sites are captured on an annual basis with basic metadata to aid access. The archiving frequency and range of topics covered are subject to change in response to our better understanding of user needs. This number of sites in our collection will keep growing as we more interesting academic resources that fall into our topic are found to enrich our collection. As such, your feedback is very helpful to us.

Want to find out more? Check out the World Sustainable Development Archive.

Please contact the International and Area Studies Library with any questions about this project or any of our other services.

[i] Web Archiving Service. Retrieved from: http://webarchives.cdlib.org/faq.

[ii] Web Archiving Service. Retrieved from: http://webarchives.cdlib.org/faq.

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Occupation Libraries: Libraries speak

Occupation libraries are temporarily built street libraries during protest activities. Protestors or the general public can stop at the library in the street to read as a way to show their support to these events. Some of the first occupation libraries were built during the Fall 2011 Occupy Wall Street protests in New York[i] This practice has been adopted by protestors in Turkey.

Occupy Library 2

Occupy library in New York street [ii]

The protest in Turkey started in Gezi Park on May 28, 2013. It was triggered by the government selling out the Taksim Gezi Park, Istabul’s last public space, to real estate developers for commercial use. This protest later turned into a large scale civil rights event to pursue freedom of expression and other civil rights.[iii] The occupation library was initially built in the park with a box of abandoned books. Later more than 10 Turkish publishers donated books to the library to support their protest. These donated books cover a variety of topics, including political issues, religions, history, philosophy, etc. Some popular readers’ picks on the shelves cover: The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Carnus, Leaf Storm by Vabriel Garcia Marquez, Old Garden- Old Love by Tezer Ozlu, When Nietzsche Wept by Irvin David, and Resurrection Gallipoli 1915 by Turgut Ozakman.[iv] People are invited to read at the protest site, preferably in front of police officers to support this activity.[v]

Both makeshift libraries share some common features. First, all books in occupation libraries are donated by individuals or institutions. They are open for the public use. Second, because of their special nature, these libraries operate under strict government rules. This causes challenges to preserving books. Some of the first group books in the People’s library in Occupy Wall Street campaign were flooded in a rain because the police did not allow librarians to cover them.Taksim Square Book Club

People are reading at the Occupy library in Istanbul[vi]

Occupation libraries extend libraries’ missions in social life from circulating materials and sharing information to expressing people’s attitudes. Occupation libraries also mark a new development of civil rights activities. Despite protesters’ dissatisfaction with the government, these libraries avoided violent confrontations in the protests.  Instead, they invite people to stop and read at the library as a way to say they care and support the activities. No matter which side these libraries stand with, they should be respected for expressing the public’s opinions on social issues and discussing disputes in an open and peaceful way.

[i] Christian Zabriskie (2013). A Library Occupies the Heart of Occupy Movement. http://www.americanlibrariesmagazine.org/article/library-occupies-heart-occupy-movement.

[iii] Wikipedia: 2013 Protest in Turkey. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_protests_in_Turkey.

[iv] George Henton (2013). In Pictures: The Taksim Square Book Club: Protesters stand silently and read books in central Istanbul, in stark contrast with scenes of violence. http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/2013/06/2013624105477515.html.

[v] Ariel Bogle (2013). Turkish publishing houses unite in Gezi Park to distribute books. http://www.mhpbooks.com/turkish-publishing-houses-unite-in-gezi-park-to-distribute-books/

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Timbuktu Manuscript project and Promoting Libraries on Mass Media

In one of our previous blog posts, we introduced the plight of Timbuktu ancient manuscripts in Mali during the ongoing war.[i] As recent report says, after being rescued from the Islamic fundamentalists, these materials were relocated to South Mali, which has caused new threats to them. Now they are facing preservation issues caused by humidity in their new home. This area is much more humid than Timbuktu, which is very arid. After being moved to South Mail, these manuscripts are still kept in footlockers, which are not moisture proof. These manuscripts are printed on rag paper and are very fragile to the humidity. Some manuscripts are already damaged by the moisture,[ii] showing signs of mildew and rot.[iii] The damage will become more severe if these manuscripts are not better preserved by mid June, the rain reason of Mali.x

In order to gain outside help rescuing these manuscripts, Timbuktu librarians launched a campaign to raise funds for preserving these materials. Approximately 7 million dollars are needed to purchase archival boxes and humidity traps to keep these manuscripts before they can be returned to Timbuktu. In view of the time limit, Timbuktu librarians used multiple approaches to seek outside help. This effort has been promoted in a variety of ways, including CNN news channel, Facebook, twitter, and Reddit. All of them are gaining considerable attention.  An Indiegogo channel was created to collect donations. As of the close of the campaign, on June 20, 2013, $67,446 was collected out of the $100,000 asked for.[iv] You can still contribute to the manuscripts cause through a Pay Pal account linked from the T160K website.

This campaign is a perfect illustration of using Internet to promote library activities. Internet spreads information much faster than the traditional library outreach approaches, such as poster, departmental collaboration, exhibits, etc. The funding Timbuktu library gets on Indiegogo increases exponentially day by day.  It also collects a much larger audience. This campaign gets supporters from Facebook users, Twitter users, CNN followers, and Reddit readers. Other libraries can learn this experience for their own outreach. Despite of some limits of mass media promotion for library activities and fundraising, such as less targeted user group and some security issues, it does bring a faster and more influential option to future library promotion. Also, other online resources could also be used to collect user experience information and other feedback to improve library services and increase our influence all around.

For more information on the manuscript rescue, listen to the interview of Abdel Kader Haidara on BBC Outlook: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01b19d6.

[i] Denise Rayman. (2013) The Timbuktu Library Burnings and the Importance of Library Disaster Planning. http://publish.illinois.edu/iaslibrary/2013/03/01/the-timbuktu-library-burnings-and-the-importance-of-library-disaster-planning/

[ii] Timbuktu Libraries in Exile. http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/timbuktu-libraries-in-exile

[iii] Saved from Islamists, Timbuktu’s manuscripts face new threat. http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/28/world/africa/timbuktu-manuscripts/index.html?iref=allsearch

[iv] Timbuktu Libraries in Exile. Indiegogo. http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/timbuktu-libraries-in-exile

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