How to Participate

The North Carolina Digital Heritage Center provides digitization and digital publishing services to cultural heritage institutions in North Carolina.

Who is Eligible to Work with the NC Digital Heritage Center?

Cultural heritage institutions in North Carolina with collections that are open to the public are eligible for the Digital Heritage Center’s digitization and digital publishing services. This includes all public and college libraries, museums, and historic sites, and many archives and historic societies. High School Alumni Associations may also participate, as long as they meet a few criteria. Please contact us if you have questions about whether your institution is eligible.

How Much Does It Cost?

The North Carolina Digital Heritage Center was established by the State Library of North Carolina and the UNC-Chapel Hill University Library as a service to cultural heritage institutions in our state. There is currently no charge for the services provided by the Center, though there is often a limit to how much work the Center can do for any single institution.

How Many Items Can My Institution Contribute for Digitization?

It depends. The Digital Heritage Center makes an effort to complete as much as possible for each institution, but is also committed to working with many different institutions around the state, with an emphasis on those organizations that do not yet have any of their materials accessible online.

The biggest factors in determining how many items an institution can contribute are the size and condition of the original materials. For example, digitizing a hundred postcards in good condition would take a few hours, while digitizing a hundred large, fragile maps would likely take a few weeks. Please see the Selecting Materials for Digitization page for more information, or contact the Digital Heritage Center staff at with any questions.

Can My Library Contribute Images That We Have Already Scanned?

The Digital Heritage Center is focused on helping institutions with materials that they want to share online with their users. If your organization has already scanned materials, but you do not have a means of publishing them online, you may be able to publish them on Contact the Digital Heritage Center staff at for more information.

What Kinds of Materials Can the Digital Heritage Center Work With?

The Digital Heritage Center has the capacity to digitize almost any type of item, as long as it is related to North Carolina or North Carolinians and does not raise any privacy or significant copyright concerns. Please see the Selecting Materials for Digitization page for more information and tips about choosing appropriate items from your collection.

What About Copyright?

The Digital Heritage Center staff can advise partners about copyright concerns, including determining whether materials are in the public domain, strategies for investigating orphan works, and suggestions for contacting rights holders.

Each item that is published on includes a rights statement. We encourage anyone with a rights concern to contact us; items raising concerns will be removed while any issues are being resolved.

Who Owns the Materials Once They’re Online?

Every item record includes the name of the institution that contributed the item, contact information for that institution, and a rights statement. The Digital Heritage Center does not retain any of the physical materials – we want contributing institutions to be recognized and make every effort to inform users where the materials on DigitalNC come from. 

If My Institution Puts Items on, Can We Publish Them On Our Own Website As Well?

Yes! The Digital Heritage Center will provide copies, if requested, of all of the digital files and the contributing institution may re-publish these on its own website, or anywhere else it deems appropriate.

How Much Metadata Does My Institution Need to Provide for the Materials We Want Digitized?

The amount of descriptive information provided about the materials submitted for digitization varies widely. We recognize that some institutions have the time and resources to provide a lot of metadata – others can only provide little. We will work with institutions on an individual basis. The Describing Your Materials page provides more information about describing materials prior to digitization.

How Does My Institution Get Our Materials to Chapel Hill to be Digitized?

With the exception of microfilmed newspapers, all digitization by the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center is done in the Digital Production Center, located in Wilson Library on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. Most Digital Heritage Center partners bring the materials by car, while a few have chosen to ship items.  It is the responsibility of the contributing institution to transport the materials to Chapel Hill and back. The Digital Heritage Center cannot pay for postage; if your institution decides to ship materials for digitization you will need to provide an account number or labels to cover return shipping costs.