Sunday, February 10, 2008

U of I treasures on line

The University of Illinois library in Urbana-Champaign was my introduction to serious libraries back in the day. Now I can visit it without making the drive! The library has a growing treasure trove of digitized books (actual images) at Illinois Harvest (digitization by the Open Content Alliance).

Unlike the University of Michigan's collection of county histories, there's no overall index function. But you're still better off staying home, because each individual book is viewable and searchable in PDF, TEXT, DjVu, and FlipBook formats.

Those with a broad conception of genealogy will bring in the most bushels of facts per electron. Illinois Harvest offers 39 themes for browsing, including genealogy with 56 titles. But that's only the start, since in addition they have digitized 114 county and local histories! And of course very many of the 395 items under "Chicago" are genealogically relevant too.

Also be aware that books may be filed inconsistently into the themes. If you browse "Genealogy Resources" you will find a ~1918 The Farmers' review farm directory of Coles and Douglas Counties, Illinois ; but you will miss the same year's Prairie farmer's directory of Montgomery County, Illinois, which shows up only among the 24 titles under the theme "Rural Life and Agriculture."

More on this great resource later. Now please pardon me while I wipe the drool off my keyboard.

1 comment:

Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

This is a great resource. I spent an hour there this evening. Thanks for sharing it!