University Library
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Editorial Policies

Focus and Scope

The Internet is creating a vast new archive of historical sources.  Huge numbers of digitized artifacts–including pictures, films, sounds, words, as well numerical and spatial data–appear online everyday.  Anyone interested in history would want to use them.

Yet there’s a catch.  All too often, we don’t know anything about these sources, not even their names.  Who made them? When? Where? How much of the original survives today? What portion is digitized here?  Faced by these and numerous other questions, students and researchers are placed in a bind.  We can either ignore the Internet’s riches, or use them blind, without really knowing what we’re working with.

SourceLab exists to help solve this problem.  Our students are developing classroom-based publishing practices and technologies that will help people interested in history take advantage of newly-digitized materials more knowledgably and efficiently.

This page represents our SourceLab Series, a set of online editions of historical materials developed in response to the needs of teachers and researchers. Currently, we are publishing entries in our SourceLab Prototype Series, as we develop the publishing technologies underlying our project.  Produced as works in progress, entries in the SourceLab Prototype Series have nonetheless been reviewed by faculty, students, and staff to ensure their quality.  They are ready for research and teaching.

Soon, we hope to begin a new, fully peer-reviewed series of SourceLab editions.  Watch this space for more detail.

All of our work is offered to the public as Open Educational Resources.


Section Policies

SourceLab Prototype Series

Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Checked Peer Reviewed

Publication Frequency



Open Access Policy

This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.



SourceLab was established in 2014 by the Department of History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. We are a group of students, faculty, and staff gathered from many disciplines across the University. We have three main activities.


Faculty associated with SourceLab offer courses that train students in the history and contemporary practice of documentary editing: the craft of publishing historical sources. The core course of this sequence, History 207: Publishing the Past, will be offered this coming academic year, in Spring 2017.


Faculty, students, and staff all serve on the Editorial Board of the SourceLab Series. This publication issues regular Calls for Proposals, asking members of the public to identify digitized materials they would like to see prepared for scholarly use. The Editorial Board reviews these proposals, and establishes teams of students to work on select new editions. Our first prototype publication, Red Cross Work on Mutilés, at Paris, is now online and is being used in courses here at Illinois.


Finally, our SourceLab Working Group meets on a regular basis throughout the year. It sponsors workshops dedicated to building our core expertise in digital documentary publishing. It also sponsors research projects, aimed at developing our base of Open Educational technologies and materials.