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


Substantial and Varied Collection from Rockingham County Now Online

The latest materials digitized from Rockingham County Public Library are online now, and oh are they wide-ranging. Included in this batch are church bulletins, postcards, audio recordings, local histories, genealogical records, and even an intricate cross stitch of Rockingham County’s not-quite-neighbor, Person County.

Many of these items recount the history of the towns of Leaksville, Draper, and Spray before the three were consolidated into a single town, Eden N.C., in 1967. One of these is the book Leaksville-Spray, North Carolina: A Sketch of its Interests and Industries, which is one of only two copies known to exist today. It gives extensive details about textile and other manufacturing industries in the area during the early twentieth century.

Morehead Cotton Mills Co.

Leaksville’s Morehead Mills was founded by future governor John Motley Morehead, also known as “the Father of Modern North Carolina.”

Other materials included in this batch were created well after Leaksville, Draper, and Spray were incorporated as Eden. The song “The Ballad of Leaksville, Spray, and Draper,” written by Leaksville native John Marshall Carter, laments the merger of the three cities with its chorus of, “I can’t believe that they’ve done this to me, I can’t conceive that they’ve killed history.” This song along with “Olden Days” were digitized from an original 45 rpm record.

Header for the Farmer's Advocate Newsletter

“Published Sporadically But Enthusiastically” reads the tagline on the first edition of the Farmer’s Advocate Newsletter.

Also digitized were 70 editions of The Farmer’s Advocate Newsletter from the Historic Jamestown Society — a group dedicated to the preservation of the stories and structures of Jamestown N.C. — spanning from 1975 to 2018.

Rockingham-area genealogists may find some gems in the records of family reunions, vital statistics, church publications, or cemetery survey included in this batch.

All of the items from the most recent batch can be accessed here. To learn more about the Rockingham County Public Library, visit their partner page on DigitalNC or their website.


Durham Urban Renewal Records Have Been Renewed

In the early days of the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center, we digitized thousands of records created during the Durham Urban Renewal Project. Recently, we revisited these records with the intention of making them more accessible and useful to our partners and the public.

The Durham Redevelopment Commission was established in 1958 with the intention eliminating “urban blight” and improving the city’s infrastructure as more and more personal vehicles filled the city’s streets. Durham Urban Renewal targeted seven areas — one in Durham’s downtown district and six in historically black neighborhoods including Hayti and Cleveland-Holloway. The projects in these six neighborhoods impacted approximately 9,100, or  11.7%, of Durham citizens at the beginning of the project in 1961. Although the initial timetable for the project was ten years, the project efforts went on for nearly 15 years and was ultimately never completed. By the end of the urban renewal efforts, more than 4,000 households and 500 businesses were razed and a new highway — NC 147 —  stretched through the heart of Durham.

A public library building, two stories tall with ornate columns.

Some structures included in the collection, such as the second home for the main branch of the Durham Public Library, outlived the urban renewal project and still stand today. This building is located at 311 East Main Street.

The Durham Urban Renewal Collection contains studies, reports, appraisals, property records, photographs, brochures, and clippings that span the nearly 20 years of urban renewal projects. These materials are artifacts of Durham before, during, and after urban renewal dramatically altered the city.

In an effort to make these materials as accessible and accurate as possible, we recently completed a major cleanup of the collection. Properties are now listed by complete street address. Many of the residential properties — and some commercial properties — were appraised more than once during the urban renewal process. We have consolidated all appraisals, photographs, and other records for individual properties into single listings, and text in these records are full-text searchable. We also used historical maps of the city from the years of urban renewal to provide additional information for unaddressed or mislabeled appraisals and records. In addition to the changes made to improve accessibility by address, we made efforts to ensure that the names of property owners are complete, accurate, and consistent across the collection, so that records may be located more easily in searching by the owners’ names.

The materials in the Durham Urban Renewal Collection came from Durham County Library’s North Carolina Collection and are only a portion of the materials contributed by the library to date. To learn more about the Durham County Library, visit their website or partner page.


Greensboro Area Yearbooks and Student Publications Added

New to our site is a sizable collection of yearbooks and other campus materials from Greensboro. These items came to us from our partners at the Greensboro History Museum and Greensboro Public Library, and mark the beginning of our partnership with Greensboro Public Library.

A drivers education car is sandwiched between two structures.

Drivers Education at Page High School was clearly not for the faint of heart, as evidenced here in the 1965 Buccaneer.

Included in this batch are 31 yearbooks from Greensboro, Smith, Walter Hines Page, and Bessemer High Schools spanning from 1916 to 1967. There is also a hand-written roster kept by Greensboro Senior High School that contains the names and other information such as colleges attended, marital status, and addresses of the school’s graduates from 1922 to 1966.

1954 Whirligig Inside

The inside cover of the 1954 edition of Whirligig, Greensboro High School’s Yearbook, shows “The Setting of the GHS Story 1953-1954.” This setting includes the bunny hop, a fact-filled science building, the fountain of youth, and many references to Greensboro native O. Henry.

Alongside the yearbooks are student literary magazines from Greensboro High School. These student publications — titled Greensboro High School Magazine, The Sage and Homespun  — include poems, plays, stories, and more. The earliest of these digitized in this batch is from 1907 and the most recent from 1960.

Covers from Homespun, Greensboro High School's Literary Magazine

The covers for Greensboro High School’s Student Literary magazine — Homespun — creatively depict the theme of each edition. Shown here are four covers of the magazine printed between 1927 and 1931.

Materials from Greensboro History Museum can be found here, and the materials from the Greensboro Public Library here. For more information about Greensboro History Museum, visit their website or partner page. For additional information on Greensboro Public Library, check out their partner page or website.


How DigitalNC materials are being used across the web: Bull City 150

We love being sent or just stumbling upon, projects on the web that utilize materials digitized through the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center.  We thought since they have done such a great job highlighting us, it’d only be fair to turn around and highlight a few we’ve found recently.  

Black and white photograph of a house with a porch

1 Adams Alley, a house torn down during Urban Renewal in Durham.  Adams Alley no longer exists as an address.

Today’s focus is on a website that’s associated with larger project at Duke called Bull City 150.  Durham celebrates it’s 150th anniversary this month, so it feels appropriate to highlight this project in April.  According to the website, “the mission of Bull City 150 is to invite Durhamites to reckon with the racial and economic injustices of the past 150 years and commit to building a more equitable future.”  The project does this through a variety of public history methods, including the associated website that features several videos put together by students in Documentary Studies classes at Duke.  Two of those videos, one on the important role of the Carolina Times and its’ long time editor, Louis Austin in Durham’s black community, and one on the destruction of Hayti in Durham when the Durham Freeway, Hwy 147, was built, feature materials digitized by DigitalNC.  We have the full run of the Carolina Times available here and many photographs and property surveys digitized for the Durham Urban Renewal Collection from our partner Durham County Library, are featured in the Hayti video

If you have a particular project or know of one that has utilized materials from DigitalNC, we’d love to hear about it!  Contact us via email or in the comments below and we’ll check out.  To see past highlighted projects, visit past posts here

 


New Partner and New Yearbooks from Buncombe County!

A student waves in a high school hallway.

A very animated Charles D. Owen High School student featured in the 1968 edition of The Warhorse.

The first materials from our new partner Swannanoa Valley Museum and History Center are online now. This batch features 28 yearbooks from Black Mountain and Swannanoa, both located in Buncombe County (N.C.).

These yearboooks are from Swannanoa High School, Black Mountain High School, and Charles D. Owen High School and capture the years 1948 to 1968.

Swannanoa and Black Mountain High Schools merged to form Charles D. Owen High School in 1955. Swannanoa and Black Mountain’s final yearbooks — the 1954 editions — are included in this collection, as is the very first yearbook for Owen High School.

All of the yearbooks included in this upload can be accessed here.

Hand-drawn high school entryway.

An illustration of Black Mountain High School featured in the 1949 Skirmisher.

 

To learn more about the Swannanoa Valley Museum and History Center, visit their partner page here of DigitalNC or their website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


New Yearbooks From Rowan County High Schools

We have added nearly 50 yearbooks to our collection thanks to our partner Rowan Public Library. These yearbooks are from two Rowan County schools — Price High School in Salisbury N.C. and China Grove High School — and are especially unique in that they capture student life at two schools that existed only for a few decades.

Campus Photo

Price High School’s main building from the 1960 edition of the Pricean.

Ruth E. Miller

The 1943 Pricean Yearbook was dedicated to two teachers who joined the U.S. military.

Price High School was Salisbury’s African-American high school from 1932 until 1969, when integration led to the closing of the school and the opening of today’s Salisbury High School. Included in this batch of yearbooks are seventeen editions of The Pricean, the annual from Price High School.  These yearbooks include the usual contents of high school yearbooks — superlatives, group photos, class poems — but also notable graduates and the final class’ words of farewell and gratitude to the school. They also encapsulate notable events that occurred between 1943 and 1969.

One such historic event was World War Two, which was emphasized by the 1943 Pricean’s dedication. The yearbook was dedicated to Auxillary Ruth E. Miller and Seargeant James C. Simpson, both of whom were graduates of and teachers at Price High School before joining the U.S. Army. Ruth E. Miller was the first black member of Salisbury’s Women’s Army Auxillary Corps while James C. Simpson was the first teacher from Price High School to join the U.S. army.

China Grove High School’s yearbook, The Parrot, captures some of the early years of the merging of the Rowan County Farm Life School with the city’s main high school that took place in the summer of 1921. According to the Eura Jones, a member of China Grove High’s 1924 class, China Grove High School “was the largest rural high school in the state” in 1921, and only continued to grow. She goes on to detail the school’s continued growth, boasting “two music departments, a teacher training department, glee clubs, four societies, a dramatic club, ball teams, a home economics club, athletics, agriculture, and most of all, the construction of a new three story building to house the growing school.” The yearbooks added to our digital collection span the years from 1923 to 1961.

China Grove High Architectural Drawing

Plans for China Grove High School’s Expanding Campus, completed by Architect Charles C. Hook.

These yearbooks are only a fraction of the materials we have digitized for the Rowan Public Library. To learn more about the Rowan Public Library, check out their partner page or their website.

Student Life From the 1956 Pricean.

Price High’s Driver’s Education Class, Cheering Squad, and First Year Industrial Arts Class from the 1956 Pricean.

Price High School – Salisbury, N.C.  
The Pricean [1943]
The Pricean [1947]
The Pricean [1949]
The Pricean [1952]
The Pricean [1954]
The Pricean [1955]
The Pricean [1956]
The Pricean [1957]
The Pricean [1958]
The Pricean [1959]
The Pricean [1960]
The Pricean [1961]
The Pricean [1962]
The Pricean [1965]
The Pricean [1966]
The Pricean [1967]
The Pricean [1968]
The Pricean [1969]

China Grove High School – China Grove, N.C.
The Parrot [1923]
The Parrot [1924]
The Parrot [1930]
The Parrot [1931]
The Parrot [1932]
The Parrot [1933]
The Parrot [1935]
The Parrot [1936]
The Parrot [1937]
The Parrot [1938]
The Parrot [1939]
The Parrot [1940]
The Parrot [1941]
The Parrot [1942]
The Parrot [1943]
The Parrot [1944]
The Parrot [1945]
The Parrot [1947]
The Parrot [1948]
The Parrot [1949]
The Parrot [1950]
The Parrot [1951]
The Parrot [1952]
The Parrot [1953]
The Parrot [1954]
The Parrot [1955]
The Parrot [1956]
The Parrot [1957]
The Parrot [1958]
The Parrot [1959]
The Parrot [1960]
The Parrot [1961]


New Carver College and Mecklenburg College Yearbooks Now Online

We have just added new catalogs and yearbooks from Central Piedmont Community College. CPCC is currently the East Coast’s largest community college and was founded in 1963 when two colleges — Mecklenburg College and the Central Industrial Education center — merged. These yearbooks are from the years preceding the formation of CPCC and feature the students, staff, programs, and happenings of Carver Junior College and Mecklenburg College.

Class of 1963 in caps and gowns.

Mecklenburg College’s class of 1963 from the 1964 Echo.

Carver College was a predominantly black junior college in Charlotte, North Carolina from 1949 to 1961. Carver College’s name was changed to Mecklenburg College in 1961, which it remained known as until its inclusion in the formation of CPCC in 1963.

These yearbooks capture scenes of students enjoying the campus and participating in events, organizations, and programs at the college and in the community.

Carver Junior College waving on parade float.

Carver College students on their red ribbon winning parade float from the 1957 Carveran.

To learn more about Central Community College, visit their website or partner page here on DigitalNC.

All of the materials — college catalogs and yearbooks — uploaded in this batch can be accessed here. The yearbooks included in this batch are individually linked below.
The Carveran [1957]
The Carveran [1958]
The Carveran [1959]
The Carveran [1961]
The Echo [1962]
The Echo [1963]
The Echo [1964]


Three Yearbooks Added from Wake and Wayne Counties

Headshots of six women arranged in an oval, from the 1922 Tarpitur

We love filling in gaps in the DigitalNC yearbook collection as new volumes are uncovered. Today’s post mentions three such volumes from Wayne and Wake Counties.

Wayne County Public Library contributed the 1922 Tarpitur, one of the earliest volumes on our site from Goldsboro High School. You can also view all of the yearbooks we have available for Goldsboro High School.

We’ve also added the 1945 Latipac from Needham B. Broughton High School and the 1958 E’corde from Cardinal Gibbons High School, both in Raleigh.

Looking on the High School tab on our Yearbooks page is an easy way to discover what years we might be missing. Contact us if your institution can help fill in gaps!


What Should You Do With Your Scanned Photos? What We Suggest for Libraries, Archives, and Museums

We frequently get asked by institutions “what should I do with my scanned photos/documents?” This is a great question but not an easy one – digitization/scanning is the easy part.

What these institutions are often asking is how they should keep track of the files they created during scanning (scans) and the information about what they scanned (metadata). In addition to tracking, they’d like to know what their options are for sharing the scans and metadata with an online audience.

When you see websites like ours with extensive collections of scans paired with metadata (like in the screenshot below), there’s usually a piece of software behind it that keeps track of the scans and the metadata and then matches them up for online display. That’s what a content management systems (CMS) does, if you’ve heard that term before. The benefit of using a CMS is that it makes sure the scans and their metadata remain paired over time, and often allows users to do fun things like search, sort, and filter.

Color photograph of a woman in a WWI uniform.

Screenshot of an item on DigitalNC, as presented by a content management system called TIND.

There are different types of CMSs for different types of industries. This post focuses on options for cultural heritage institutions, because CMSs made for cultural heritage institutions generally address the things we care about most. They make sure metadata is shareable, that scans can be described really well, and that you can express one-to-many relationships (think: many scans linked up to a single metadata record).

If your institution is considering implementing a CMS, here are the very first steps we suggest considering.

First, Plan 

  • Decide on your goals. Do you want your scans to be available online? Or are you just looking for software that will manage your scans and metadata locally? Who will use the end product – your staff, your patrons/users, or both? Your answer will help guide where you go next.
  • Do some prep work. Like any other service your institution wants to maintain, figure out (1) how much money you have to spend both now and on an ongoing basis, (2) who will need to be involved in installation and support, and (3) what staff expertise you already have related to technology.
  • Talk to your administration and coworkers. What are their goals and needs for scanning and sharing those scans, if any? It’s a lot harder to implement a system if you don’t have the buy-in of others where you work. 
  • Be realistic. Start small and build up your capacity. We’ve never heard of someone saying “our first scanned collection was too small,” but we have heard a lot of people say “I bit off way more than we could chew.”

Options for Keeping Track of Scans Locally

If you just need to keep track of scans and metadata locally for staff use, you can do this easily with a spreadsheet and a really consistent file naming structure. The spreadsheet could include things like a title or description, maybe a physical location, any other helpful keywords or dates, and the file or folder names for the scans. Staff can search the spreadsheet for what they need, and then find the file or folder name so they can pull up the scans from storage.

If you’d like something more sophisticated for keeping track of scans and metadata locally for staff use, there are programs that allow you to tag and describe scans that live locally. If you search for “photo management software” or “photo organizing software” online you’ll discover a number of options. We’re not terribly familiar with these; just be sure that you can export whatever you put into the software before committing.

Options for Putting Scans Online

If you decide you’d like to put your scans online, here are some choices you can consider.

A Content Management System Already in Place

Examples Include: LibGuides (screenshot below), library catalogs, museum databases

Screenshot of a public library's LibGuide site.

Screenshot of a LibGuide with extensive information about North Carolina maps.

Typically Chosen By: Institutions who already have a CMS that they can stretch to serve their needs.

The Positive Side: You may be able to start sharing your scans faster because the CMS is already adopted and paid for by your institution and familiar to staff and online users. 

Possible Challenges: LibGuides, library catalogs, and museum databases do not always follow best practices and standards for digital collections. For example, it may not allow you to attach multiple scans to a single record, or it may not export your metadata in a structured way. In other words, you may be fitting a “square peg into a round hole.” In addition, if the features you want to use are secondary to the system’s main purpose, the vendor or developer could drop those features later. 

Recommended? Depending on your resources and needs this can be the best solution. Just be aware of the possible down sides mentioned above.

A Social Media or Photo Sharing Website

Examples Include: Facebook, Flickr (Screenshot below), Tumblr

Screenshot of a yearbook cover photo on Flickr

Screenshot of an item on Flickr.

Typically Chosen By: Private individuals, small organizations with limited technical staff, institutions seeking to engage with broad communities where those communities already congregate online.

The Positive Side: These reach broad, built-in audiences. There is frequently no cost up front.

Possible Challenges: These do not adhere to best practices and standards for digital collections, which can cause a lot of work later on. Sites like these can shut down or change their terms of service with little or no regard for or warning to users. There are ads displayed near to your files, over which your organization has no control. It’s frequently impossible or extremely difficult to get your files and metadata back out of these sites.

Recommended? Not recommended as the main mechanism for managing and storing your files and metadata. These sites are best used only for outreach and engagement.

Hosting your Content on DigitalNC.org

Typically Chosen By: Institutions of all sizes who prefer not to host their own software, possibly due to local IT limitations or as a result of strategic priorities;  institutions who would like their scans and metadata searchable alongside others from around the state.

The Positive Side: Your content reaches a broad, built-in audience. It would be searchable with similar digital collections from around North Carolina. Currently no cost to institutions.

Possible Challenges: We do the uploading and editing for you, and it takes place within a broader schedule. We’d ask you to create images and metadata that follow our standards before we could upload. (These could be positives, depending on your perspective.)

Recommended? Sure! Depending on your resources and needs this can be a great option.

A Content Management System Hosted by an External Company

Examples Include: CONTENTdm (screenshot below), hosted Islandora, ArtStor’s JSTOR Forum, Omeka.net, Past Perfect Online, or TIND (which is what we use, see screenshot at the beginning of this post)

Photograph of a man and boy with two dogs, along with metadata below it.

Screenshot of a hosted instance of CONTENTdm.

Typically Chosen By: Institutions of all sizes who prefer not to host their own software, possibly due to local IT limitations or as a result of strategic priorities.

The Positive Side: Many systems like these are built with best practices like consistency, standards, and integration with other systems. They will allow users to search your metadata, and often offer things like filtering, file downloading, and other desired user services. Your organization does not have to set up or maintain the software locally. You can establish a brand and dedicated site for your digital collections.

Possible Challenges: They require staff with specialized training in the system, and the ability to pay a vendor both initially and on an ongoing basis. You’re limited to the services or features the vendor chooses to offer.

Recommended? Sure! Depending on your resources this can be a great option.

Hosting Your own Content Management System

Examples Include: Self-hosted Islandora, Omeka (screenshot below), Samvera, Collective Access

Screenshot of a colorful campus map along with metadata.

Screenshot of a self-hosted instance of Omeka.

Typically Chosen By: Institutions with programmers on staff, dedicated IT support, and collections that require a lot of customization.

The Positive Side: Like the hosted systems above, these are also often built with best practices like standards and interoperability. They will allow users to search your metadata, and often offer things like filtering, image downloading, and other user services. When you host your own system you can frequently customize more features.

Possible Challenges: They require staff with specialized training, and a robust and flexible IT support infrastructure. They’re more time intensive and costly to maintain.

Recommended? Sure! Depending on your resources and needs this can be a great option.

Final Thoughts

In the end, there isn’t much that’s an “always wrong” choice. There are only choices that have different consequences down the road. We encourage people to choose the systems that adhere to digital collections best practices, because those best practices come from people who’ve made choices they regretted. In the end, it’s most important to choose a solution that meets your needs and fits the resources you have now and those you anticipate having in the future. Above all, always be sure that your scans and metadata are backed up and can be extracted from the system you choose!

Did we miss anything? Leave us a comment below.

If you’re considering one or more of these and have questions, get in touch. We’re happy to give you advice for what to ask a vendor or point you to similar institutions who may have already adopted what you’re considering.


Pinehurst High School Yearbooks from Moore County Now Online

High schoolers sprawled out and collapsed around a chair, with the caption "gooney club"

Moore County Historical Association has contributed 11 high school yearbooks for Pinehurst High School to DigitalNC, dating from 1951-1961. These are the first yearbooks for Pinehurst High School available on DigitalNC.

You can also browse other yearbooks from Moore County, or take a look at our list of available high school yearbooks, organized by county.