Our Newest Edition: “A Medieval Surgery, Illustrated”

SourceLab is excited to announce the publication of a new edition: “A Medieval Surgery, Illustrated: The First Recorded Surgical Separation of Conjoined Twins.” This edition presents a folio of an illustrated twelfth-century manuscript that depicts a surgical procedure undertaken by Byzantine doctors to separate a pair of conjoined twins. This fascinating edition not only sheds light on the practice of medicine during the tenth century, but also discusses histories of (dis)ability, chronicle writing, and manuscript production in the Middle Ages.

Check it out on our “Publications” page or at the following link!


Introducing “The Birth of Pussy Riot: Six Early Songs”

SourceLab is excited to announce our newest published edition: “The Birth of Pussy Riot: Six Early Songs.” This edition, authored by Jamie Hendrickson, investigates the origins of the Russian, feminist, punk rock band through the lens of their earliest songs and performances. With extensive translations of the Russian lyrics and blog posts by the band, this edition offers readers an accessible glimpse into the heart of the modern Russian protest movement through some of its most essential voices.

Check it out on our “Publications” page or at the following link!


SourceLab Forum Today!

Join us today for our second SourceLab Forum, “Harvesting History: Community Documentary Practice” in our spring 2022 SourceLab Forum series. In this open conversation, we will speak with Dr. Kathy Oberdeck, Associate Professor of History at UIUC and Dr. Rebecca Wingo, Assistant Professor of History and Director of Public History at the University of Cincinnati.
Through this one hour discussion, Dr. Wingo and Dr. Oberdeck will share their experiences organizing and executing History Harvests within higher education institutions. Focusing on their West End Archive, Remembering Rondo, and Sewn in Memory projects, this forum will explore best practices for public facing scholarship and pedagogy while considering the political and technological concerns of community digitization. Anyone interested in public outreach, digital historical scholarship, or activism in the classroom is welcome to join us for this exciting conversation!
Topic: Harvesting History: Community Documentary Practice”
Time: Apr 8, 2022 04:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting

Upcoming SourceLab Forum

“Talking Documentary Practices in Academia”

In this open discussion with Ana Rodriguez and Jessica Ballard, we will listen to their experiences with digitizing in academic contexts, engage with their processes, concerns and priorities, and expectations for archive visitors. This meeting will be open to anyone interested in digitization, digital publishing, or the digital humanities!

Zoom Link:

Topic: Documenting and Digitizing in Academia
Time: Feb 11, 2022 01:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 848 3670 6113
Password: 353916

Join us for our next SourceLab Forum on March 5!

Open to anyone interested in the digital humanities and digital publishing. Food and drink will be provided. Our forum is on Wednesday, March 5 in iSchool Room 131.

Open Forum

Come join us for an open forum on Tuesday, November 13th!

Topics include:

  • Introduction of three soon to be published editions.
  • Presentations on Author Experiences
  • Open Q&A

Forum is open to anyone who would like to learn more about SourceLab or get involved with the process. Food and drink will be provided. Forum will be held on Tuesday, November 13 in Gregory Hall Room 219.

SourceLab Forum

SourceLab Forum

October 23, 2018
Gregory Hall, 307

This is an informational forum open to anyone who wants to get involved with the SourceLab project. There will be discussion on the Call for Proposals and presentations on different aspects of the SourceLab. Pizza will be provided.

Call for Proposals!

Call for Proposals for the SourceLab Prototype Series

Theme: History of Media

Deadline: January 1, 2019 (for development during the Spring 2019 semester)


SourceLab is digital documentary publishing initiative sponsored by the Department of History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. We train students to create reliable and free digital documentary editions of digitized historical sources, in response to the needs of teachers, researchers, and the public at large.

We seek digital materials connected to the history of media that educators want to use in their classrooms. This call is open to history of media materials from all time periods and geographic locations. Like the Internet, we are not limited to text: we’re interested in images, films, audio records, cartoons as well as quantitative and spatial data. Nor do we limit ourselves to items in English and can work to produce translations. We work with things that are already digitized—and have some existence online—as well as with works that need digital production.

We use this history of media call capaciously to include not only the more traditional forms, such as film, radio, music, television, books, magazines, and newspapers, but also media texts such as playbills, cartoons, ticket stubs, birth or death certificates, booklets or pamphlets, scripts, posters, advertising campaigns, and image and documents of media history—or something else you may find in your research.

We build scholarly frames around them to provide the contextual information you and your audience need. We describe the artifacts’ origins, provenance, current archival location, and publication history. We investigate their copyright status, and provide reliable citations. We stabilize them in the online world, to help make sure they won’t go away. All of our editions are peer reviewed by our Editorial Board and outside reviewers, to ensure their accuracy and scholarship. Our main limitation is one of scale. We are interested in shorter individual documents, not entire collections or archives. Such projects are more manageable for our student teams.

Do you know of a source you’d like to see produced into a digital edition? Do you need such an edition for your own work, as a professor, researcher, or student of history? Send us your ideas! We’re eager to work on projects for our special series.

For more information about the program, see our brochure, “SourceLab: An Idea.” For an early prototype of our work, see our edition of “Red Cross Work on Mutilés, At Paris” (1918).



  • You’ve found a rare book on GoogleBooks, that speaks eloquently to a theme of interest to you. You’d like your students to read 10 pages of it. But it’s 900 pages long, no one has heard of the author, the GoogleBooks version seems to be somewhat corrupted, and there are words in the text that need to be glossed or translated. We can clean all that up, make it easier to handle, provide the students the context they need to follow the section you’ve assigned, make sure the copy is legit, and also provide downloadable versions for offline reading or printing: for free.


  • There’s a picture you’ve seen a million times online (a search reveals 1000 different copies), everyone knows it and talks about it, you’d like to use it in a lecture as well as in an article you’re writing. Its origins and current location are a total mystery, as is its title. It’s probably in the public record, right?  We can help you with this, too.
  • There’s a famous song that you’d like students to hear and study. There are 10,000 different versions on line. But which is the best for your purposes? And can they download it to their phones? And can its text be transcribed—or even translated—so that students can talk about the words as well as the music? Those are also questions we hope our editions can clarify.


  • Your group has digitized a document, and you’d like to make it available for scholarly use, but you’re not sure how to publicize it or don’t have the resources. You also think having it in a scholarly series will help the public find it and take it seriously as “real history.” Sounds great and we’d love to take it on.
  • You’ve produced a quantitative data set (say, a statistical spreadsheet or a GIS shapefile) from some historical sources. You think it would be great to make it available to the public. But you’re not sure you have time to do it, and in any case it might involve technical questions you’re not prepared to research or handle. That, and you think scholars would need to see the source with which you’ve been working, and you’re not sure it’s online. Publishing data is part of what we’re hoping to do.

These are just a few of the possibilities we are hoping this initiative can explore: and we’re very open to other ideas and suggestions as well. Write us at SourceLabUIUC@gmail.com.

Maya Vinokour (NYU): The Post-Soviet Public Sphere: Russian Media Culture in the 1990s – March 12, 2018

On March 12, 2018 UIUC’s Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center and SourceLab welcomed NYU Faculty Fellow Maya Vinokour to campus. A noted scholar and translator of Russian literature Vinokour spoke on her ongoing digital archive project The Post-Soviet Public Sphere. Vinokour’s project brings together the ephemeral artifacts of life and culture at the end of Soviet rule, including commercials, posters, newspapers, and websites. The difficulties in locating and studying these materials are myriad as she noted in her talk. No organized effort was undertaken to archive these materials and the occasionally chaotic state of Russian political, economic, and cultural affairs between the 1989 and 2000 render her ongoing project the only scholarly repository for many of these objects. Vinokour is also the co-editor and translator of Linor Goralik’s Found Life: Poems, Stories, Comics, a Play, and an Interview (Columbia University Press, 2017).