Last spring, our archives was selected for participation in a digitization project sponsored by the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI). I chose the IWU Catalogue of Courses from 1851-1954 for this project, and it just went live as the 200th collection added to CARLI’s digital collection database for member libraries.
Course catalogs may not seem like the most compelling artifacts to have available online, but they have a lot to tell us about changes in personnel and physical attributes of campus, not to mention the curriculum!
A little known fact about these sources is that up until 1954, our catalogs contained an “enrolled” student list for the range of degree and certificate programs being offered.
So from the standpoint of the kinds of questions people direct to the archives, a significant benefit of this effort is that our last large collection of print material needed for finding people associated with IWU is now searchable!
Of course, all of the originals and the more recent catalogs, from 1955-present, are available in print in the University Archives.
For this project, CARLI worked with the Internet Archive, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization to make these materials freely available to CARLI libraries and the world, through the Internet Archive at https://archive.org/details/carli_lib.
You can access our catalogs there or though the CARLI-hosted search interface. The smaller collection I created through CARLI makes it easy to search just our collection rather than having ours along with the millions of items already in the Internet Archive.