External id:

Manager Email: waarala2@illinois.edu

Owner Email: bgandrsn@illinois.edu

Start Date: 2017-06-26

Status: active


NEH Cybernetics Thought Collective Assessments 

The University of Illinois Archives has been awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to develop a prototype web-portal and analysis-engine to provide access to archival material related to the development of the iconic, multi-disciplinary field of cybernetics. The grant is part of the NEH’s Humanities Collections and Reference Resources Foundations program. The project, entitled “The Cybernetics Thought Collective: A History of Science and Technology Portal Project,” is a collaborative effort among several academic units at the University of Illinois (U of I) and three other institutions that also maintain archival records vital to the exploration of cybernetic history: the British Library, the American Philosophical Society, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In addition to supporting the development of a web-portal and analysis-engine, the award will enable the multi-institutional team to begin digitizing some of the archival records related to the pioneering work of U of I Electrical Engineering Professor Heinz von Foerster and his fellow cyberneticians W. Ross Ashby (also a former U of I Electrical Engineering faculty member), Warren S. McCulloch, and Norbert Wiener.



NEH Cybernetics grant

Contact - Bethany Anderson - Archives 

Timeline – Entire sample digitized by beginning of November

Start Date – End of Summer (Ideally July)

Final Due Date Project for grant ends end of April 2018

Updated Delivered BiWeekly - Bethany, Quinn, Tricia (Kyle if interested)

Inventory - Delivered early July by Bethany

Priority – This project will have priority over other unit projects starting as soon as material is prepped by end of summer 2017

Quanitity/Volume – Approx 5 cu ft


  • Bethany and Tricia created metadata profiles June 2017. As of July 1st the profile was not in the DL but Tricia will add that.
  • Folder level description (this is item level


  • Content coming from Institution – MIT, British Historical society they will provide samples of content they will give us digital surrogates
  • Get formal agreement that we will house our content
  • Pull content from Medusa
  • Alex, Kyle, Tom all involved 


  • Bound material – take off of comb binding
  • student will review for conservation need
  • Trial done with BC100 with Bound content by staples –Some items will be disbound by Quinn Ferris to avoid damage. BC100 is best equipment for items like this because cradle is stable. 
  • Retain aesthetic of black binding
  • Material included is typed correspondence – Some are stapled together 
  • Onion skin possible which will slow DS down - will photograph with RCAM

Digitization notes

  • Only image content - no blanks
  • Student will prep content for digitization and remove staples or note anomalies
  • POST digitization – if there is conservation need – Quinn doesn’t think there is need to do anything after digitation. DS will notify via medusa database and note in physical item that there is damage or need for conservation to consult via streamer

Access and Preservation

  • DS will submit content to Medusa.  Archvies will sync and upload Metadata to the DL upon ingest


RBML/ARCHIVAL CONTENT ONLY - Deliverables (file formats)



Preservation Master

  • 600 DPI
  • Fixed pixel array
  • Adobe RGB
  • 16 bit
  • Crop inside page edge
  • Include target item level target (beginning/end of volume or at page level



  • 400 DPI
  • 3000 pixels on the long edge
  • sRGB
  • 8 bit
  • Crop inside page edge
  • Include appropriate production note/blank
  • Exclude item/page level target



File Naming and D

  • Single bound/book object
    • 1106026_52_Miletich_1973_76  (folder level)
      • 1106026_52_Miletich_1973_76 -001, 1106026_52_Miletich_1973_76 -002, 1106026_52_Miletich_1973_76 -003 (file level)
  • Book object with 2 copies or volumes
    • 1106026_52_Miletich_1973_76_001 (folder level)
      • 1106026_52_Miletich_1973_76_001-001, 1106026_52_Miletich_1973_76_001-001-002, 1106026_52_Miletich_1973_76_001-001-003 (file level)
    • 1106026_52_Miletich_1973_76_002 (folder level)
      • 1106026_52_Miletich_1973_76_002-001, 1106026_52_Miletich_1973_76_002-002, 1106026_52_Miletich_1973_76_002-003 (file level)