Digital North Carolina Blog

Digital North Carolina Blog

This blog is maintained by the staff of the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center and features highlights from the collections at DigitalNC, an online library of primary sources from institutions across North Carolina.

RSS Subscribe By Mail UNC Social Media Statement


12 Days of NCDHC: Day 6 – Collections from North Carolina Religious Institutions

This holiday season join us here on the blog for the 12 Days of NCDHC. We’ll be posting short entries that reveal something you may not know about us. You can view all of the posts together by clicking on the 12daysofncdhc tag. And, as always, chat with us if you have questions or want to work with us on something new. Happy Holidays!

Day 6: Collections from North Carolina Religious Institutions

cover of the book "In the Beginning -- Baptists" with a line drawing of the facade of the First Baptist Church of New BernSome of our state’s oldest history is stewarded by religious institutions, and we’ve frequently been asked if we can work with them. Though most are not eligible to become an NCDHC partner because they do not have regularly open and staffed libraries or archives, we worked with our Advisory Board to devise a pilot project where eligible partner institutions can pair with a local religious institution to share their materials on DigitalNC.

Our first effort was with New Bern-Craven County Public Library and the First Baptist Church of New Bern. We received a warm welcome over in New Bern as we learned about the Church’s history. We returned to Chapel Hill and scanned some of their earliest minutes along with a history of the congregation published in 1984 (pictured at right). 

Here are the details if you’re interested in this project.

  • The partnership must be between the religious institution and a current or eligible partner institution.
  • All items we scan or photograph have to be made available through DigitalNC.org. We cannot scan items that can’t be made freely accessible online.
  • This project follows the same guidelines as all of the work we do. You can read more on our “How to Participate” page.
  • Items will have the eligible partner institution listed as the contact, and the religious institution as the home for the archive. We’ll make an “exhibit page” for the religious institution so they can easily search and browse their materials.

This is a great opportunity for local libraries or museums to build or enhance relationships with local synagogues, churches, mosques, and temples.

Check back on Monday as we reveal Day 7 of the 12 Days of NCDHC!


12 Days of NCDHC: Day 5 – The 50-Year High School Yearbook Embargo

This holiday season join us here on the blog for the 12 Days of NCDHC. We’ll be posting short entries that reveal something you may not know about us. You can view all of the posts together by clicking on the 12daysofncdhc tag. And, as always, chat with us if you have questions or want to work with us on something new. Happy Holidays!

Day 5: The 50-Year High School Yearbook Embargo

Yearbooks are a major part of the work we do here at DigitalNC.  For many partners, it is the first format that they bring us for scanning and for many of our users, it is what brings them to our site.  So one might think we would take any and all yearbooks.  However, for high school yearbooks, we have a 50-year embargo, which means right now in December of 2019, we are only scanning high school yearbooks from 1969 and before. 

Why?  Well for a couple of reasons.  The first is privacy.  We do not have a similar restriction on college yearbooks because 99% of those featured in a college yearbooks are 18 and older when the yearbook was printed and had a reasonable level of consent to be included.  High school yearbooks feature minors and so we have the 50-year restriction for privacy reasons.  The other is simply a method to stem the tide of yearbooks that would otherwise come through our door!  As North Carolina’s population grew and yearbooks became increasingly a normal part of the high school experience, there are literally thousands for the 1970s through 2000s out there.  This embargo allows us to control that flow somewhat, as we only have a limited capacity for yearbook digitization each year.

Page from a yearbook that says "our generation is the spirit of '69, activities, personalities, crowds

Front page of the 1969 Independence Senior High School yearbook

That said, on January 1, 2020, we’ll be happy to scan any 1970 yearbooks you may have in your collection.  Some of our partners already send us a whole new round every spring and we invite any of our partners with yearbooks to send us a new batch as we enter a new decade of digitization. (And what a decade it should be! We are excited about the fashion and hairstyles we will be seeing very soon!)

Check back on Friday as we reveal Day 6 of the 12 Days of NCDHC!


12 Days of NCDHC: Day 4 – Ways to Promote Your DigitalNC.org Collections

This holiday season join us here on the blog for the 12 Days of NCDHC. We’ll be posting short entries that reveal something you may not know about us. You can view all of the posts together by clicking on the 12daysofncdhc tag. And, as always, chat with us if you have questions or want to work with us on something new. Happy Holidays!

Day 4: Ways to Promote Your DigitalNC.org Collections

While Google is great, intentionally promoting your digital collections to your on-site or website visitors can make sure they’re not missing resources they need. It signals your organization’s commitment to openly sharing your collections, and can lead to some meaningful user engagement. Many of our partners put links to DigitalNC.org on their websites, in visitor or patron guides, or within their catalogs or artifact databases. Here are a few other suggestions you may not know about: 

Embed a search widget

We’ve created an embeddable search widget that gives users a quick way to do a keyword search across all of the content on DigitalNC.org. The code provided can be added anywhere that allows an iframe. 

Screenshot of a handout announcing 206 materials and 2 newspaper titles on DigitalNC from Louisburg CollegeQuickly create a flyer to hand out or post

Here’s a quick way to create a flyer that includes what we’ve scanned or photographed for your organization. There’s a screenshot of an example at right. In addition to types of items it includes the URL to your landing page and your logo. 

Ask us for some brochures

We have a bunch of them! Just contact us and we can mail you some.

Check back on Thursday as we reveal Day 5 of the 12 Days of NCDHC!


12 Days of NCDHC: Day 3 – We’ll Come to You

This holiday season join us here on the blog for the 12 Days of NCDHC. We’ll be posting short entries that reveal something you may not know about us. You can view all of the posts together by clicking on the 12daysofncdhc tag. And, as always, chat with us if you have questions or want to work with us on something new. Happy Holidays!

Day 3: We’ll Come to You

In 2017 we introduced a new initiative – DigitalNC on the Road! in which we pack up our scanners and laptops and travel to partners to scan items in their collections.  One of our favorite parts of being part of the NCDHC is getting to see our partners’ institutions (and get in a little NC sightseeing and tasting too!)

People sitting around a table scanning materials

NCDHC staff scanning at Johnston County Heritage Center

Several partners so far have taken us up on the offer including City or Raleigh Museum Johnston County Heritage Center, Winston Salem African American Archive, Gaston County Public Library and Graham County Public Library

The length of time we will come for is flexible.  Some partners we just visit for a day, other partners we come to for two or three days to really work through a collection.  The process to visit starts at least a month beforehand where we meet with you via the phone to discuss what collections we can work on, how many materials we can get through, and discuss initial metadata needs.  As far as resources needed once we arrive – a few tables and chairs and outlets near those tables is really it.  We have been in community rooms, board rooms, and research rooms for our scanning setups!  We welcome the public to view us and ask us any questions they might have.  Our blog post announcing the initiative gives a good overview of how the process works.  We have done photograph collections, news clippings, student history projects, and slides as part of our on site visits.  Starting in January however we’ll have new scanners that will also allow us to easily do bound materials, including yearbooks.  

Three people talking around a table of archival materials

Lisa chatting with board members from the Winston Salem African American Archive

We are also happy to come visit and just talk through the collections you have and what might be candidates for digitization back at NCDHC in Wilson Library, and if you’re ready, take some of those materials back for us.  

If you’re interested in talking with us to set up an on site visit let us know.  We’re always up for a road trip across North Carolina!  

Check back on Wednesday as we reveal Day 4 of the 12 Days of NCDHC!


12 Days of NCDHC: Day 2 – Newspapers Advanced Search

This holiday season join us here on the blog for the 12 Days of NCDHC. We’ll be posting short entries that reveal something you may not know about us. You can view all of the posts together by clicking on the 12daysofncdhc tag. And, as always, chat with us if you have questions or want to work with us on something new. Happy Holidays!

Day 2: Newspapers Advanced Search 

A screenshot showing the text input boxes and different filter options on the newspapers advanced searchWe’re adding more newspapers on an almost weekly basis, and the collection currently holds over 1.2 million pages. With so much text, searches can be a lot more successful if you use the Newspapers Advanced Search where you can do multiple kinds of searches:

  • Any of the words – example: the words Barry OR Allen somewhere on the page
  • All of the words – example: the words Barry AND Allen somewhere on the page
  • Phrase search – example: Barry Allen right next to each other
  • Proximity search – example: the words Barry and Allen when they are within 5 (or 10, or 50, or 100) words of each other

In addition to these choices for what you’re searching on, you can narrow down your search in the following ways:

  • by year
  • by type (our newspaper titles are currently categorized as community papers, student papers, and African-American papers)
  • by county
  • by title(s)

There are a couple of ways to get to the Newspapers Advanced Search but the fastest is to either bookmark the link or to go to the Newspapers landing page and click the link in the upper right.

Screenshot of the newspapers landing page with a red arrow pointing to a link that says "Advanced Search"

The Advanced Search is a great way to find someone by name, or to search through all of the newspapers we have on DigitalNC from a particular county. We recommend it all the time when a regular keyword search isn’t doing the trick.

Check back on Tuesday as we reveal Day 3 of the 12 Days of NCDHC!


12 Days of NCDHC: Day 1 – Partner Landing Pages

This holiday season our staff brainstormed about things we feel many of our current or potential partners may not know about us! We don’t mean that we love YoPo and baby yoda (though we do). We mean services we provide, or projects we’ll take on, or tools our partners can use to get the best out of their DigitalNC collections. So for the next two weeks join us here on the blog for the 12 Days of NCDHC. We’ll be posting short entries that reveal something you may not know about us. You can view all of the posts together by clicking on the 12daysofncdhc tag. And, as always, chat with us if you have questions or want to work with us on something new. Happy Holidays!

Day 1: Each of our Partner Institutions Has Its Own Landing Page

When we partner with a cultural heritage organization to scan items from their collections, the images and information all go into DigitalNC.org where everything can be searched together. BUT, there’s also a quick and easy way to find just what we’ve scanned from any particular institution – their landing page. If you click on any of the contributor names on this page you’ll get to their landing page, which will look something like this:

Screenshot of Edgecombe County Memorial Library's landing page, with links to parts of their collection and a map showing their location

From the landing page you can search or browse just that organization’s scanned collections. It’s a great way to narrow down your search. There are also links to blog posts related to that organization and links back to their own web presence. If you’re a current partner, we hope you’ll link to your landing page on your own website.

Check back on Monday as we reveal Day 2 of the 12 Days of NCDHC!


Yearbooks Now Online, Courtesy of Burke County Public Library!

Thanks to our partner, the Burke County Public Library, editions of several yearbooks from Burke County schools are now available on our website.

The cover of the 1969 edition of Reflections, the yearbook for West Concord School.

This batch includes the 1969 edition of Reflections, the West Concord School yearbook; the 1969 edition of Belles Memoires, the Oak Hill High School yearbook; the 1969 edition of Cavalcade, the Drexel High School yearbook; the 1969 edition of Cat’s Tale, the Morganton High School yearbook; and the 1950 edition of The Impersonator, the Francis Garrou High School yearbook.

The cover of the 1950 edition of The Impersonator, the yearbook from Francis Garrou High School.

You can view all of the materials we’ve digitized for Burke County Public Library on their contributor page. For more information about the Burke County Public Library, please visit their website.


More Materials from Johnston Community College are now Available

Aerial Photograph, 1983

Aerial Photograph, 1983

Thanks to our partners at Johnston Community College, DigitalNC is proud to make more photographs, a scrapbook and a 1988 class schedule available online. This batch follows a previous set of about 750 photographs from the college, and continues along themes of education, community, and the campuses in Smithfield and Four Oaks.

Some of the most notable photos are of campus personalities, including Dr. A. Curtis Phillips, President Donald Reichard, other faculty and staff, and several that focus on President John Tart as he was about to retire.

John Tart, his wife Marjorie Tart, and their grandchildren at President Tart's retirement party, 1998

John Tart, his wife Marjorie Tart, and their grandchildren pose by a series of cakes meant to look like the Johnston Community College at President Tart’s retirement party, 1998

The batch also includes the first scrapbook of news clippings produced by Johnston Community College. This book, filled with clippings from 1969 to 1972, is the first of many scrapbooks assembled by College faculty and staff. This book documents the origins and early days of the school, which opened as Johnston County Technical Institute in Fall 1969.

First class of curriculum students, September 1971 clipping in the 1969-1972 scrapbook

First class of curriculum students, September 1971 clipping in the 1969-1972 scrapbook

To see all of the photographs on DigitalNC from Johnston Community College, click here. DigitalNC also hosts several yearbooks from Johnston Community College from this time period–click here to view them. To learn more about Johnston Community College, visit their partner page here or their website here.


New Newspaper Issues and Yearbooks from Kings Mountain Now Online

Masthead from 1988 for Kings Mountain Herald newspaper.

The Kings Mountain Herald, July 6, 1988.

Photo of freshman band members in uniform at Kings Mountain High School in 1969.

Freshman band members, Milestones, 1969.

Thanks to our partners at Mauney Memorial Library, DigitalNC is proud to add 1,700 new additions of The Kings Mountain Herald as well as 3 Kings Mountain High School yearbooks. Digitization of the newspapers was funded by Mauney Memorial Library, with hosting provided by DigitalNC.

Distributed from the city of Kings Mountain, the many additions of The Kings Mountain Herald span 1982 – 2015, covering decades of local Cleveland and Gaston county news. Traditional newspaper topics, such as sports, obituaries, and opinion pieces, are continuously explored throughout the years, interspersed in the ’00s with supplements such as “The Great Home Search” and “Medical Matters“. Of note, police reports appear frequently in all decades.

Article on closure of local barber shop in 1996.

Local barber shop closure, November 27, 1996.

TV listings for Charlotte area stations in 1988.

TV listings, March 23, 1988.

Article on Betsy Wells attending the inauguration of President Obama in 2009.

Local attends President Obama’s inauguration, January 21, 2009.

The newest Kings Mountain High School yearbooks, each titled Milestones, come from 1967, 1968, and 1969. They showcase the high school activities of ’60s Kings Mountain teens, including a wide array of clubs.

Photo of Aerospace club members at Kings Mountain High School in 1967.

Aerospace club members, Milestones, 1969.

Photo of majorettes posing on the football field at Kings Mountain High School in 1969.

Majorettes, Milestones, 1969.

Photo of VICA auto mechanics club members at Kings Mountain High School in 1968.

VICA (Vocational Industrial Club of America) Auto Mechanics club members, Milestones, 1968.

To learn more about The Kings Mountain Herald and see all issues, click here. For more information on Mauney Memorial Library, visit their homepage here, and to view more digitized materials from Kings Mountain and beyond, click here.


Microfilmed Newspaper Nominations Selected for Digitization, 2019-2020

Back in August, we announced our annual call for microfilmed newspaper digitization. We asked institutions throughout North Carolina to nominate papers they’d like to see added to DigitalNC. As it is every year, it was an incredibly tough choice – we are typically able to choose between 40-60 reels out of over a thousand nominated. This year we’ve chosen the following titles and years.

Title Years Nominating Institution
Black Mountain News 1945-1948 Swannanoa Valley Museum
Carolinian (Raleigh) 1959-1972 Olivia Raney Local History Library
Dunn Daily Record 1950-1962 Dunn History Musem
Eastern Carolina News 1898 Trenton Public Library / Neuse Regional Library
Goldsboro News 1923-1927 Wayne County Public Library
Tryon Daily Bulletin 1928-1942 Polk County Public Libraries
Tyrrell County Herald/Progress/Times 1928; 1944-1945 Tyrrell County Library
Tyrrell Tribune 1939-1941 Tyrrell County Library
Zebulon Record 1925-1956 Little River Historical Society

For our selection criteria, we prioritize newspapers that document underrepresented communities, new titles, papers that come from a county that currently has little representation on DigitalNC, and papers nominated by new partners. After selection, we ask the partners to secure permission for digitization and, if that’s successful, they make it into the final list above.

We hope to have these titles coming online in the first half of 2020. If your title didn’t make it this year don’t despair! We welcome repeat submissions, and plan on sending out another call in Fall 2020.