SourceLab, New Journal Featuring Documentary Editions of Historical Sources, Launches First Issue

The Illinois Open Publishing Network is pleased to announce the launch of a new, open access journal, SourceLab. Created by undergraduate students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and peer reviewed by scholars, SourceLab combines scholarly and pedagogical practice in the digital documentary editing of primary sources.

Founded in 2014, Sourcelab is a digital humanities collective based at the University of Illinois, seeking answers to questions about the future of the historical record. Editor-in-Chief John Randolph recognizes new scholarly challenges posed by the millions of historical artifacts now available on the internet. Although more accessible than ever before, these films, letters, and art pieces frequently appear without the contextual information necessary for scholarship—who made this document? When? Why? Is it authentic? Who owns it? How can we cite it?

With classroom-based publishing practices and technologies, students in the Department of History are chasing down these answers for the otherwise decontextualized digital historical sources. Volume 1 consists of five multimodal issues completed by students, each focusing on contextualizing different primary source material including a newsreel, an educational film, letters, and political cartoons.

The SourceLab forum issues regular calls for proposals, allowing members of the public to submit digital materials as potential candidates to be prepared for scholarly use. Candidate items are reviewed by the editorial board which establishes a team of students to work on new issues for publication.