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.

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Viewing entries by Lisa Gregory

Partners Share Their Stories: Richmond Community College in Hamlet

Cover shows a group of men and women in casual clothing smiling at the camera. Text: Join us this fall at Richmond Tech!

Cover of the Fall 1986 College Connection.

We are one of 29 finalists for the Institute of Museum and Library Services 2018 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. Now through April 13, IMLS is asking the people who have been impacted by the Digital Heritage Center to share their stories. If you have a story you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you! Please contact us or share via social media by tagging us on Facebook (@NC Digital Heritage Center) or on Twitter (@ncdhc).

Today’s story comes from Carolyn Bittle, Dean of Learning Resources at Richmond Community College in Hamlet. We have worked with RCC to digitize their yearbooks and other campus publications. Carolyn’s story is an example of digitization of print resources garnering attention and renewing interest in the college’s history.

I can say that since Richmond has been able to get some of our archival material digitized and online, it has increased interest from our administration.  

As a result of getting our older copies of the College Connection online, with your help, we are in the progress of “ rebirthing”  the College Connection [as RCC Connect]. The publication stopped in the spring of 2009, and now we are working on bringing it back into publication.  Hopefully, this will be available mid-March. The success stories, and class offerings were favored during its early printings, and it reached a lot of people in our two county area.  

So thank you for helping to get our publication back up! 

Partners Share Their Stories: Mauney Memorial Library in Kings Mountain

We are one of 29 finalists for the Institute of Museum and Library Services 2018 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. Now through April 13, IMLS is asking the people who have been impacted by the Digital Heritage Center to share their stories. If you have a story you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you! Please contact us or share via social media by tagging us on Facebook (@NC Digital Heritage Center) or on Twitter (@ncdhc).

Today’s story comes from Sharon Stack, Library Director at Mauney Memorial Library in Kings Mountain. We have worked with Mauney to digitize a variety of materials, including an H. Lee Waters film of Kings Mountain in 1942 (shown below). Even more, we have enjoyed partnering with them as they expand their own digitization capacity through an LSTA grant joint project with the Kings Mountain Historical Museum. Sharon shared these thoughts in support of our Medal application and we reshare them today with her permission.

Two men and two women seated on the ground, with their legs crossed at the ankles and feet towards the camera.

Kings Mountain High School Students from the 1953 yearbook, courtesy Mauney Memorial Library.

Unique. Special. Important.
Tucked away. Forgotten. Inaccessible.

For the Mauney Memorial Library and the Kings Mountain Historical Museum, those words describe the archival and museum holdings of our respective collections. The NC Digital Heritage Center has been a lifeboat for these collections. Our partnership is simple. When staff are traveling near Chapel Hill, NC we 
take our collections and have the Center digitize and publish them. Now, years later, collectively we have built a body of work that is reaching critical mass. With funding from an LSTA grant, we are working with the Center to host the museum and library’s photography collection. This will give Kings Mountain and North Carolina residents’ unprecedented access to the library and museum’s holdings. These materials are helping us to weave a digital story to entice and engage residents to learn more about their hometown and the fundamentals of its soul and the people and events that created it. It is an honor to write this letter of recommendation for the IMLS National Medal on behalf of NC Digital Heritage Center. Lisa Gregory and her staff take very complex processes and make it easy for the professional working in the field to digitize and publish collections. They are easy to work with, accessible for questions, and technical expertise. They go the extra mile to finding solutions to make materials available electronically. This depth of service is what sets the NC Digital Heritage Center apart. For a small town North Carolina library and museum, the Center helps us to make our collections: 

Unique. Special. Important.
Findable. Memorable. Accessible.

The NC Digital Heritage Center is deserving of this recognition of the best at work in libraries and museums today.

We’re a Finalist for the 2018 National Medal for Museum and Library Service!

2018 FinalistNational Medal for Museum & Library Service, with image of medalWe’re honored and excited to announce that we have been named one of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) finalists for the 2018 National Medal for Museum and Library Service!

We are one of 29 finalists for the medal, which is the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for service to their communities.  

We share this recognition with each of our 227 partners, who have worked to increase access to North Carolina’s many voices by sharing their collections online. With over 35,000 visitors to each month, they have definitely succeeded! 

The winners will be announced later in the Spring. Until then, IMLS will be celebrating these 29 finalists and their impact on the nation. We encourage you to tell us how the Digital Heritage Center has impacted your life and work on Facebook or Twitter. Use the #IMLSmedals and #ShareYourStory hashtags. 

New Opportunity for Digitization Assistance with the Digital Heritage Center and State Archives of North Carolina

Men standing around and on top of a truck full of bags of tobacco.

Truck Load of Tobacco Weighing 23,188 lbs. From Braswell Memorial Library.

We’re excited to announce that we’re partnering with the State Archives of North Carolina on an initiative that will help current and new partners prepare and transport their materials to the Digital Heritage Center for scanning. Participants will attend workshops on describing materials and getting them ready for digitization. The State Archives will also provide for transport of materials to and from the Digital Heritage Center. We’re hoping this will be especially helpful for those furthest from Chapel Hill. The State Archives’ blog includes information about the program and a link to the application. The application deadline is March 16. Please let us know if you have any questions or need assistance filling out the application.

This program is funded through a grant awarded to the State Historical Records Advisory Board and the State Archives of North Carolina and, as such, the opportunity won’t be around forever. It is open to current Digital Heritage Center partners as well as any institution or organization eligible to become a partner. We hope you’ll share the word with organizations who may be interested.

2017’s Most Popular Items on

We’ve taken a look back at this year’s top 5 most viewed items on DigitalNC, and they may not be what you expect! Here they are in order of popularity.

#1 Madison Beach

Contributing Institution: Rockingham Community College

The most viewed single item on DigitalNC was this photo:

View through trees of swimmers 

Want to know more about Madison Beach? We did, and found this page in a Rockingham County Public Library volume by local author John T. Dallas to help us out.

Clippings about Madison Beach from the Madison Messenger newspaper


#2 Newspaper Clippings about the Hibriten Company

Contributing Institution: Hickory Public Library

Hickory Public Library has shared a variety of files related to local businesses, and this one on Hibriten Furniture was the second most popular item.

Hibriten Furniture newspaper clipping

#3 Jim Thornton Band

Contributing Institution: Harnett County Public Library

This picture of Jim Thornton and his band includes Congressman Harold D. Cooley and singer Mozelle Phillips. The band played at dances and events, as well as on the radio and a live country music television show out of Raleigh entitled “Saturday Night Country Style.”

Five band members holding instruments stranding with man in a suit

#4 Wiggins Mill Bridge Postcard

Contributing Institution: Wilson County Public Library

From the 1880s, this postcard shows the bridge spanning Contentnea Creek in Wilson County, with “Wiggin’s Mill” and the reservoir waterfall in the background. Wiggin’s Mill was a sawmill, and can be found in newspapers of that era as a local landmark both on land and on the creek. The Wilson Advance describes the Wiggin’s Mill bridge floating away in a “freshet” in June 1891.

Colored postcard with bridge over river

#5 1976 Yackety Yack Yearbook

Contributing Institution: UNC-Chapel Hill

Taken together, yearbooks are the most popular items available on our site. It’s not surprising that one made the top 5 list. This 1976 Yackety Yack has spectacular photographs with 1970s style.

Title page of the 1976 Yack, with Chapel Hill metal plate

For the curious, here are some overall numbers for DigitalNC for 2017. Here’s looking forward as we work with partners to share even more of North Carolina’s cultural heritage in 2018!

Pageviews 3,510,047
Users 390,667
Scans Added 567,315

Six Months Later and We’re Not Done: Underrepresented Voices on DigitalNC

About six months ago we asked our partners to help us increase the diversity of voices shared on DigitalNC. We had an outpouring of interest, and partners have shared a number of rich collections from the African American and LGBTQ communities. Here’s an update of what has been added to DigitalNC as a result of this call.

Excerpt of a census page that includes school house census details and student names.

This 1903 Census Report for Morton Township, Alamance County, lists names, ages, and the names of parents of African American students. 

Alamance County Public Libraries shared a wide variety of materials documenting African American communities in that county. Two groups of photographs, the Heritage of Black Highlanders and Asheville YWCA Photograph Collection, are parts of larger collections held by University of North Carolina at Asheville

Several partners added African-American newspapers to those already shared online at DigitalNC. 

We’ve also been working with University of North Carolina at Charlotte to share issues of Q-Notes, which covers updates, events, and issues of the LGBTQ community.

Diversifying DigitalNC isn’t a one-time event – it’s ongoing every day. If your institution has or will be targeting collections that document racial, ethnic, or geographic communities who are underrepresented on DigitalNC, and you’re interested in sharing these materials online, get in touch.

NCDHC Strategic Themes, 2017-2019

We’re pleased to announce the Digital Heritage Center’s first set of strategic themes, which we’ve just released. These themes reflect what we’ve heard from partners and other institutions around the state over the last year. They join our longstanding but slightly revised Mission and Values statements.

If you’ve followed our work for awhile, these themes will be familiar. But there are nuances here that will drive some of our newer initiatives, such as scanning on location and increasing the diversity of voices available through DigitalNC.

Let us know if you have any questions or concerns. We look forward to working hard to help our partners share North Carolina’s cultural heritage.

NCDHC 2017-2019; empower cultural heritage professionals by offering services and training;, strengthen community identities through history and culture; increase access to information for all through freely available online resources

We Want to Come to You! New On Location Digitization Service Begins

On Location Digitization Services icon with young boy riding in a toy car

Logo image courtesy the Braswell Memorial Library! “Ricky in Toy Car” 

Have you been interested in working with the Digital Heritage Center but find it difficult to get to Chapel Hill, or have concerns about having your materials off site? We want to come to you! We’ll be working with two or three cultural heritage institutions over the next nine months to try out on-location scanning.  If you’d like to nominate your institution, read on and use the nomination form linked at the end of this post.

What We Do

Here’s what nominated institutions will receive as part of this process.

  • We will bring our scanners, computers, and staff to your institution to digitize and describe materials from your collections. We would be there for one full weekday, at a minimum.
  • We’ll host the scanned images and associated metadata on, and give you copies of the original scans to use in any non-profit context.
  • Optionally, we can do a presentation for staff and/or the public related to any of the following topics:
    • The Digital Heritage Center’s services (for staff at your institution and/or other local cultural heritage institutions)
    • A demonstration of what we’re doing while we’re there (for staff at your institution)
    • The variety of resources you can find on and other fantastic digital collections in North Carolina (staff or the public)

What We’ll Need from Partners We Visit

If you’re chosen, we’d need:

  • At least one conference call before arrival to clarify expectations, work with you on scheduling, and talk through the materials you’d like scanned.
  • Description and a light inventory of the items we’ll be scanning, if there isn’t one already available.
  • Some assembly and preparation of the materials you’ve chosen. This might include physically pulling all of the content together before we arrive and removing staples if the materials are stapled at the top corners.
  • A designated staff contact regularly available to ask questions regarding what we’re scanning while we’re there, and to help with logistics like getting equipment in and out of the building, etc.
  • An indoor location that has:
    • at least two power outlets,
    • internet connectivity,
    • a work area large enough for 2 scanners and 4 laptops as well as extra room for materials handling,
    • seating for four people, and
    • is away from the public so we can get the most scanning accomplished in our limited time (ideal but not required).

Additional Guidance for Nominations

  • We’ll be giving priority to nominations from institutions furthest from Chapel Hill and to new partners. If you are a prospective partner, please check to make sure you’re eligible.
  • The materials have to be owned by your institution.
  • The materials should cover North Carolina subjects, events, and people.
  • For these on-location sessions, we’re accepting nominations for the following types of items:
    • photographs (prints) and/or postcards
    • looseleaf print materials up to 11×17”
    • bound items may be considered, but in very limited numbers and only if transporting them to Chapel Hill would be impossible
  • Materials can be fragile but should be stable enough to withstand gentle handling and placement on a flatbed scanner.

We’ll review nominations according to the following criteria, so you may want to address these in your nomination form:

Category Point Value
New partner 1
New town 1
New county** 2
Materials document an underrepresented
     community or population
Materials are well described/inventoried 5
Majority of materials date from 1945 or earlier        1
Materials are believed to be unique 1

** We have yet to work with any institutions in the following counties: Alexander, Bertie, Bladen, Camden, Caswell, Chowan, Clay, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Graham, Greene, Henderson, Hoke, Jones, Mitchell, Northampton, Onslow, Pamlico, Swain, Tyrrell, Yancey

Use this nomination form to submit!

We’ll start reviewing nominations on September 30 and will notify selected institutions shortly thereafter. If a selected institution ends up not being able to host us, we’ll continue down the list.

We’re excited about trying out this new service. Please contact us with any questions and share this with any institutions you think might be interested.

May Day to Marion Anderson: Heritage of Black Highlanders Photo Collection Shared on DigitalNC

May Day, 1940s, from the Heritage of Black Highlanders Collection

This May Day, we’re pleased to introduce a collection contributed to DigitalNC from the Special Collections and University Archives at UNC-Asheville’s Ramsey Library. It’s the Heritage of Black Highlanders, a group of 216 photographs that document African Americans from the Southern Appalachian Mountains, particularly Asheville, in the early 20th to mid 20th century.

These photographs include many group and individual portraits, with a little less than half related to education (school classes, teachers, and administrators). Other photos are of important community leaders or those working for local organizations and businesses. To a lesser degree are snapshots of events and daily life, like awards being given to boy scouts, an early parade in downtown Asheville, or this visit by Marion Anderson to Stephens-Lee High School. 

If you head over to the Special Collections site at UNC-Asheville, you’ll be able to see the full scope of this collection. Ramsey Library has shared these photos with us as part of our call to increase the diversity of voices available through DigitalNC. You can see more from Ramsey Library on their contributor page or in their own collections.

Six Additional Charlotte Yearbooks from 1966 Added to DigitalNC

Title page of the Tomahawk Yearbook, West Mecklenburg HS, 1966

Tomahawk Yearbook, West Mecklenburg HS, 1966

We have a 50 year embargo for high school yearbooks on DigitalNC, to be considerate to alumni privacy concerns. In practice, this means that each year we can inch forward with a new round of volumes.

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library recently brought us six yearbooks from six different high schools all dating from 1966.

And don’t miss the rest of an extensive set of yearbooks and other materials that Charlotte Mecklenburg Library has already shared online at DigitalNC, as well as The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Story, their own rich site of Charlotte history.