Proposal to Host Digital Humanities 2007

at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


The Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS, above, left), in cooperation with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), proposes to host Digital Humanities 2007 (formerly the ACH/ALLC annual joint conference), at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, in June of 2007. The site of the conference will be the new NCSA building, pictured above, right. The building is under construction now, but it will be completed in 2006.

About the Hosts

GSLIS is the top-ranked school of its kind in the United States, and among the best in the world. Its faculty include notable humanities computing and digital library researchers, including Allen Renear (past president of the ACH), Stephen Downie, Carole Palmer, Jerome McDonough, and David Dubin. The Dean of the School is John Unsworth, local host for the 1999 ACH-ALLC Conference, past president of ACH, board member of the TEI, and chair of the ADHO Steering Committee.

NCSA is one of the nation's oldest and largest supercomputing centers, the birthplace of the Mosaic web browser (now known as Netscape and, in its open-source version, Mozilla), and home of the D2K software that is the basis for ongoing GSLIS data-mining projects involving music (M2K) and humanities digital libraries (NORA).

Housing Options

Housing for conference attendees can be provided at reasonable cost at a number of hotels on and near campus:

  • The Illini Union (on campus, pictured at left): Rates range from $75.00-$91.00, depending on room type.
  • Hampton Inn (closest off-campus hotel): Single room - $65.00/person/night; double room - $70.00/night for 2 people
  • Hendrick House (closest residence hall, on campus): Semi-private dormitory style suites. Single - $25.00-$29.00/person/night plus tax, Shared - $21.00-$24.00/person/night plus tax.
  • Illini Tower (on campus): offers a two person two-bedroom apartment (stove, refrigerator) at $42 per person per night and $37 for a four person two bedroom apartment.


A variety of restaurants of good quality are within walking distance of the campus. A short bus or cab ride brings into range some other very good choices. Favorites include:

  • Bacaro Italian wine bar, expensive by local standards, but excellent food, wine, and service. Wines by the glass half-price on Sunday. Downtown Champaign.
  • Cafe Luna: European menu, very good food and service; large groups are a problem here. Walking distance from campus.
  • Timpone's: Italian, very good, reasonably priced. Walking distance from campus.
  • Siam Terrace: Excellent and reasonably priced Thai food in an unassuming atmosphere. Downtown Urbana.
  • Milo's Restaurant: Family-style American restaurant, great food and service, reasonably priced. Downtown Urbana.
  • Basmati Restaurant: Very good Indian food, very nice people. Walking distance from campus.

About the Campus and Surrounding Area

The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign is located about 140 miles south of Chicago, in central Illinois. The University is served by Willard Airport (CMI) in Savoy, IL, about 10 minutes from the University campus. Amtrak has daily train service from Chicago. The city bus system that serves both Champaign and Urbana is excellent. The University web site provides more detailed directions to campus. Champaign has a population of 67,518 and Urbana's is 36,395. The University straddles the border between the two towns. In summer months the average high temperature is 85 degrees and low temperature is 65 degrees. Between April and July there is an average of 5 to 7 thunderstorms per month and our annual rainfall is 39.74 inches. During June, July and August there is an average of six to seven days per month when the temperature is above 90 degrees. Historically, July is the warmest month. The Champaign County Visitor's Guide has more information about the area.

Since its founding in 1867, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has earned a reputation as a world-class leader in research, teaching, and public engagement. It is one of the country's 37 original public land-grant institutions created within 10 years of the signing of the Morrill Act by Abraham Lincoln in 1862. It has 272 major buildings located on 1,458 acres. The University has 1,986 permanent faculty, 29,294 undergraduate students, and 11,066 graduate students, from all 50 states and 100 nations.

The Library at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign is the largest public university collection in the world, and the one of the world's premier research libraries. Among the Library's most notable collections are its holdings in Slavic and Eastern European history, literature, and science; music, especially Renaissance music; 17th- and 18th-century American and British literature; American, British and Irish history, including a distinguished collection of Lincolniana; French, German, and Italian literature, including world-famous Proust, Rilke, Dante, and Tasso collections; and historic and modern maps. The Library is also world-famous for its outstanding collection of emblem books and incunabula, and for archival collections, including personal papers of John Milton, Marcel Proust, H.G. Wells, Carl Sandburg, and Avery Brundage of the international Olympic movement. The Library holdings include more than ten million volumes.

Since 1969, the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts has served as one of the nation's premier educational and professional performing arts complexes. Each season, Krannert Center features over 300 performances and productions. Encompassing two city blocks, the Center is a stunning architectural achievement designed by University of Illinois alumnus Max Abramovitz. The Krannert Center has four main venues, and is most famous for its acoustically superior concert hall, the Foellinger Great Hall.

The Krannert Art Museum has the second-largest permanent collection of art in Illinois. Acknowledged strengths of the collection include: The Trees Collection of European and American Painting, Moore Collection of European and American Decorative Arts, The Olsen Collection of pre-Columbian Art, and examples of 20th Century Art collected during the Contemporary Arts Festivals (1948-1974). Additionally, focal points of the collection include a small but exquisite collection of Asian art, a growing collection of African art, and a large and important collection of works on paper, particularly a group of prints by WPA-artists and photographs by Edward Weston and others.

With approximately 46,000 artifacts in its collections, The Spurlock Museum's permanent galleries celebrate the diversity of cultures through time and across the globe, highlighting the Ancient Mediterranean, Africa, Asia, Oceania, Europe, and the Americas.

Allerton Park: Robert Henry Allerton donated his private estate,"The Farms" to the University of Illinois in 1946. The property which is located just outside of Monticello, Illinois consists of 1,500 acres of formal gardens, nature areas, and his manor house. In keeping with Robert Allerton's orginal concept, the estate is used as a conservation area devoted to education, research, and recreation. Today, more than 100,000 people - including researchers, teachers, and students as well as the general public - visit the park or attend conferences at the Conference Center each year.

Arthur, IL is 28 miles from Champaign. There are approximately 3500 Amish in the Arthur area. When young Amish are married they are often given a parcel of land from which to make their living. An average Amish farm consists of approximately 80 acres, and the main crops are wheat, oats, clover, and corn. Until a few years ago, farming was the prevailing way of life, but because land is no longer plentiful, many of Arthur's Amish are leaving farming for other occupations such as woodworking, canning, and watch repair.

Submitted by John Unsworth, at the 2005 ACH/ALLC Conference in Victoria, British Columbia.