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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Call for Nominations – North Carolina Newspaper Digitization, 2019

Front page of The Carolinian newspaper from November 06, 1948, declaring Truman Wins.

An issue of The Carolinian (Raleigh) newspaper from November 6, 1948.

It’s time to announce our annual round of microfilmed newspaper digitization! As in previous years, we’re asking cultural heritage institutions in North Carolina to nominate papers from their communities to be digitized. We’re especially interested in:

  • newspapers covering underrepresented regions or communities, and
  • newspapers that are not currently available in digital form elsewhere online.

If your institution is in one of these counties, please consider nominating! These are counties that currently have little content represented on DigitalNC. Bertie, Bladen, Camden, Caswell, Clay, Gates, Hoke, Jones, Northampton, Onslow, Pamlico, Swain, Tyrrell.

If you’re interested in nominating a paper and you work at a cultural heritage institution that qualifies as a partner, here’s what to do:

  • Check out our criteria for selecting newspapers, listed below.
  • Verify that the newspaper you’d like to see digitized exists on microfilm. Email us (digitalnc@unc.edu) if you’re not sure.
  • Be prepared to talk with the rights holder(s) to gain written permission to digitize the paper and share it online. We can give you advice on this part, if needed.
  • Send us an email with the name of the newspaper you would like to nominate, along with your priority years for scanning. Please talk briefly about how the paper and your institution meet the criteria below.

Nominations will be taken on an ongoing basis, however don’t wait! We typically get many more requests than we can accommodate. Please contact us at digitalnc@unc.edu with questions. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.

Criteria for Selecting Newspapers to Digitize from Microfilm

Titles to be digitized will be selected using the following criteria:

  • Does the newspaper document traditionally underrepresented regions or communities?
  • Does the newspaper include significant coverage of the local community or largely syndicated content?
  • Does the newspaper come from an area of the state that has little representation on DigitalNC? (Titles that have not previously been digitized will be given priority. Here’s a title list and a map showing coverage.)
  • Are the images on microfilm legible, or is it difficult to read the text?
  • Is the institution willing to obtain permission from the current publisher or rights holder(s) to digitize issues and make them freely available online?
  • If the newspaper is selected for digitization, will the nominating institution promote the digital project through programs and announcements?

*Updated 8/9/2019 to add county list.


The Daily Record Project: “Remnants” of a Pivotal Paper in North Carolina’s History

About two years ago, we had the honor of hosting a group of students from Wilmington who were studying one of the most politically and socially devastating moments in the state’s history–the Wilmington Coup and Race Riots of 1898. Their efforts centered around locating and studying the remaining issues of the newspaper at the center of that event, the Wilmington Daily Record. Owned and operated by African Americans, this successful paper incited racists who were already upset with the political power held by African Americans and supporters of equality. During the Coup, the Record’s offices were burned and many were killed. Thanks to these students, their mentors, and cultural heritage institutions, you can now see the seven known remaining issues of the Daily Record on DigitalNC.

Our main contact on this project has been John Jeremiah Sullivan, a well known North Carolina author and editor. He originally approached us back in 2017 to enlist our help and, since then, has been working with a cohort of supporters, volunteers, and students to dig deeper into the Daily Record and to raise further awareness of its history. Today we’re excited to share the Project’s latest efforts in Sullivan’s own words below. 

Group portrait of middle schoolers and adults outside in a field

Daily Record Project Historians, taken by Harry Taylor in May 2017 at the Cape Fear Museum

Highlights

  • Over the past few years, Wilmington middle school students have been combing through newspapers, periodicals, manuscripts, and other publications contemporaneous with The Daily Record searching for content from the Record that is quoted in those sources.
  • Their efforts yielded numerous quotes, which have been assembled into what they’re calling a “Remnants” issue of the Record.
  • Literary content, biographical information about the Record’s editors, Wilmington political news and more can be found in this issue.
  • For the first time in one place you can read content that was published in issues of the Record that may no longer exist.

The Daily Record Project

by John Jeremiah Sullivan

For the past four years, Joel Finsel and I, in conjunction with the Third Person Project, have been meeting weekly with groups of Wilmington 8th-graders to learn as much as we can about the Wilmington Daily Record, the African American newspaper destroyed at the start of the race massacre and coup d’état that turned Wilmington upside down in November of 1898. At the heart of the original Daily Record Project was an attempt to locate any surviving copies of the paper. Books and essays about the massacre always include a sentence along the lines of, ‘Sadly no copies remain,’ but it seemed impossible that they could all have disappeared. After three years’ hunting, we were able to identify seven copies–three in Wilmington, at the Cape Fear Museum (the staff historian there reached out to make us aware of their existence), three at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City, and one at the State Archives of North Carolina in Raleigh. (The latter is a mostly illegible copy of the issue containing Alex Manly’s editorial of August 18, 1898, the article seized on by white supremacists as a pretext for stirring up race-hatred in the months before the massacre.) These seven copies, thanks to the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center, can now be examined online by anyone with an Internet connection. For the first time in more than a hundred years, it is possible to read one of the most famous and important African American newspapers of the late-nineteenth century. 

“When those seven copies had been thoroughly read through and annotated, and it did not seem that any more were going to surface (at least not in the near future), we found ourselves faced with the question of “What next?” Should we discontinue the project? We had no desire to do that—it had been too much fun and we were learning too much. We had developed rewarding relationships with the three middle schools that sent their students to study with us: Williston School, D.C. Virgo Preparatory Academy, and the Friends School of Wilmington. The Daily Record Project had become a kind of field laboratory for excavating more information about the events of 1898 and Wilmington history more largely. The last thing we wanted was to shut that down. 

Adult at the front of a room addressing middle school students seated at large tables.

John Jeremiah Sullivan addressing the Daily Record Project class at DC Virgo Preparatory Academy, 2019

“We had noticed, in the course of studying the seven copies, that there did exist, in various sources from that period, isolated fragments of text from various issues of the Record that may no longer exist. We were finding these fragments in other newspapers. Just as publications do today, papers were reprinting one another’s material. Sometimes it was in the form of a quotation—several paragraphs, or even just a sentence. Sometimes whole articles were being re-published. In a couple of cases, the text survived by way of advertisement: a traveling circus, for instance, had liked what the Record said about it when it passed through Wilmington, and used that paragraph in announcing future appearances. We started wondering how many of these “ghost” stories might exist. The more we looked, the more we found. We enlisted the 8th graders to help us search. They turned up even more stuff. The range of sources we were using expanded. From old newspapers we moved on to magazines and books and pamphlets and letters. Often the writers or editors doing the quoting were critical of, or even hostile to, the Record and its politics. In attacking pieces from the Record that had offended them, they were unwittingly preserving more of that newspaper’s copy for future generations. 

By the time it was over, we had a folder containing scores of these “remnants,” as we were calling them, enough to create an entire new issue–a “ghost issue”–of the Daily Record, and that is what we have done. 

To create the actual issue, we worked with a brilliant graphic designer in New York named Stacey Clarkson James, who for many years had been the Art Director at Harper’s Magazine. I had worked with Stacey at Harper’s many years ago and have collaborated with her many times since. She exceeded even our high expectations by designing a newspaper issue that is not so much an imitation of the original Daily Record as a resurrection. She went in and crafted, by hand, a typeface that matches the now-extinct one used by Alexander Manly and the original editors. Then she laid out the pages according to the old 1890s press-style, even dropping in advertisements that we knew to have appeared in the Record. At the top it says REMNANTS. We gasped when we saw it. 

“On the second page, above the masthead, can be seen a list of sources we used. There are a lot of them. The very size and range of the list shows the scope of the Record’s notoriety in its day. It was being read in many parts of the country. 

“Maybe the most interesting thing about this issue is that, because it consists only of material that other publications found interesting enough to re-print, it winds up forming a kind of Greatest Hits compilation (though all of these “hits” have been buried in other papers until now). It’s a fascinating issue to read. There are articles on politics, culture, and social life, as well as strange unplaceable pieces, like the one about a man in Arkansas who caught fire in his orchard and just kept burning. No one could put him out. We still aren’t sure what that one means. 

“Two of many things worth highlighting within the “Remnants” issue:

Photographic portrait of Charles W. Chesnutt

Charles W. Chesnutt, Charles Chesnutt Collection, Fayetteville State University Library.

“First–at the center of the issue is Charles Chesnutt’s short story, “The Wife of His Youth.” Chesnutt was, of course, one of the first great African-American fiction writers, and the novel that many consider to be his greatest work, The Marrow of Tradition, is a re-telling of the events of 1898, set in a fictionalized Wilmington that he calls Wellington. Chesnutt had many and deep ties to this city, more than most scholars are aware. (His cousin, Tommy Chesnutt, was the “printer’s devil” or apprentice at the Daily Record–you can find his name on the masthead on page 2.) “The Wife of His Youth” is probably Chesnutt’s best-known story. What’s curious is how we learned that it ran in the Daily Record. In Chesnutt’s published correspondence, there is a letter to Walter Hines Page, his editor at the Atlantic Monthly. It’s basically a letter of complaint: Chesnutt is telling Page that Alex Manly had reprinted the story (serially) in the Record, without having asked permission. At the time of that writing the Record had already been burnt and Manly had fled Wilmington, so Chesnutt essentially says, I guess we can give him a pass… But the complaint contained valuable information, because it tells us that the Record had an ongoing literary dimension. Manly was likely running stories and poems quite frequently—one of the seven surviving copies also contains a short story, “The Gray Steer” by one Frank Oakling. It’s on page 3 of the August 30th, 1898 issue. 

Photographic portrait of Alexander Manly

Alexander Manly, in the John Henry William Bonitz Papers #3865, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“Second–readers will notice that at the end of the “Remnants” issue, in the last couple of columns on the last page, there is a series of articles from not the Wilmington Daily Record but the *Washington* Daily Record. These represent probably the most exciting discovery we made during this most recent session of the Daily Record Project. The way the story of 1898 traditionally gets told, the massacre and coup d’état marked the end of the Manly brothers’ journalistic careers: they left the city, their ambition blighted, and sank into relative obscurity. The reality could not have been more different. It turns out that the Manlys went almost immediately to Washington, D.C., and re-established the Daily Record there. Before a year was out, they had the press up and running. They operated the Daily Record for four more years in the capital, then handed it off to another editor, who ran it for another six or seven. One of their articles included here is a stirring anti-imperialist denunciation of American military intervention in the Philippines. Another describes the renaissance in African-American literary activity that was felt to be happening around the turn of the century. As far as we can determine, these few pieces represent the only extant copy from the *Washington* Daily Record, for its entire decade-long run. 

“There is much more worth unpacking, but we want to allow visitors to the NC Digital Heritage Center’s website to have the fun of doing that themselves.  

“Long live the Daily Record. Thank you for reading. 

“There are a lot of people to thank. First, the incredible 8th-grade students participated in the “Remnants” session of the Daily Record Project. It was a privilege to work with them and be around their energy: 

  • Ridley Edgerton
  • Bella Erichsen
  • Dymir Everett
  • Love Fowler
  • Malakhi Gordon
  • Heaven Loftin
  • Katy McCullough
  • Juan Mckoy
  • Shalee Newell
  • Isis Peoples
  • Nakitah Roberts
  • Gabe Smith
  • Maria Sullivan
  • Latara Walker
  • Ramya Warren

“Second, the adults (teachers, administrators, chaperones, donors, friends, and Third Person Project members) who contributed every week to making this year’s work possible: 

  • Rhonda Bellamy
  • Dan Brawley
  • Laura Butler
  • Stacey Clarkson James
  • Michelle Dykes
  • Clyde Edgerton
  • Brenda Esch
  • Joe Finley
  • Cameron Francisco
  • Sabrina Hill-Black 
  • Mariana Johnson
  • Trey Morehouse
  • Tana Oliver
  • Donyell Roseboro
  • Elliot Smith
  • Beverley Tetterton
  • Larry Reni Thomas
  • Candace Thompson
  • Leyna Varnum
  • Tony Ventimiglia 
  • Florence Weller
  • The Cape Fear Museum
  • NC State Archives
  • The Schomburg Center 

“And finally, a shout-out to the Digital Heritage Center. Thanks to you, more than 120 years after white supremacists tried to erase the Daily Record, people are reading it again.”


DigitalNC Website Improvements Coming Soon

A big change is coming to DigitalNC.org in the next few weeks. We want to give you a sneak peek

Over the past ten months we’ve been working hard to migrate the images and information found on DigitalNC.org to a new system called TIND. The parts of the website that look like this:

Screenshot of search results on the current DigitalNC website.

will soon look like this instead:

Screenshot of search results in TIND.

Why did we make this change? The company behind our current software had decided to withdraw support for sites like ours. In addition, we wanted to move to software that would be better at searching and browsing, and that could successfully share information out to search engines and other systems. We’ve been so pleased to collaborate with TIND staff, and we are excited about the possibilities opened up by this move. Oh, and one other important change – you will now be able to search across all of the yearbooks on DigitalNC.org! This was one of the most requested features for a new system, and we’re happy to deliver.

Banners across our website will give you a heads up before we integrate the new system completely into DigitalNC.org, but you can try it out here. If you run into any challenges or have any positive feedback, please drop us a line at digitalnc@unc.edu. We’d love to hear your thoughts.


2018’s Most Popular Items on DigitalNC.org

Today we’re taking a look at the most-viewed items on DigitalNC.org for 2018. Yearbooks and newspapers are the most populous and popular items on our site, so it’s no surprise that they took four of the five slots. What rose to the top and why? Take a look below.

#1 Pertelote Yearbook, 1981

Contributing Institution: Brevard College

This year our most viewed single item on DigitalNC was the 1981 Pertelote yearbook from Brevard College.

The Pertelote was popular due to the apprehension of a mailbombing suspect in October of this year and his ties to several North Carolina schools. Cesar Sayoc was a student at Brevard College in the 1980s and his photograph can be found in several locations within the 1981 yearbook, including this club photo from page 134.

A group photo of ten members of the Brevard College Canterbury Club

#2 The Outer Banks Fisherman

Contributing Institution: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

On a lighter note, the second most popular item on our site was a film from the early 1980s entitled “The Outer Banks Fisherman.” It features Freshwater Bass Champion Roland Martin fishing on the Outer Banks. This film had a few particular days of internet popularity when it was mentioned on a couple of North Carolina hunting and fishing forums.

Man in a yellow slicker fishing on the beach, smoking a pipe

#3 North Wilkesboro Journal-Patriot Newspaper, December 8, 1941

Contributing Institution: Wilkes County Public Library

The third most popular single item on DigitalNC was the December 8, 1941 issue of the North Wilkesboro Journal-Patriot newspaper. You can tell from this striking headline that it was published the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II. This paper generally received referrals via Google all year, but we’re not sure which search terms were leading users to this page so consistently.

#4 The Franklin Press and Highlands Maconian Newspaper, April 23, 1953, page 9

Contributing Institution: Fontana Regional Library

Many of our referrals come from Facebook, and that was the case with this fourth most popular item. It was featured in the Facebook Group “You May Be From Franklin NC If…” The original poster stated that Group members had looked for photos of the Old County Home over the years, and that they had recently uncovered this newspaper page which includes pictures of the Home’s state in 1953. Top half of the april 23 1953 Franklin Press and Highlands Maconian, page 9

#5 The Daily Tar Heel Newspaper, September 2, 1986

Contributing Institution: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Facebook sharing also boosted this item’s rating, after the UNC-Chapel Hill University Archives asked for memories of the legal drinking age being raised to 21 in 1986 and the “send-0ff” on Franklin Street before the law came into effect. They shared a quote from a police officer as well as a link to the article below, which documents the damage and disgruntlement caused by the downtown party.

Top half of Daily Tar Heel front page from September 2, 1986, with photo of crowd on Franklin Street at night

 

Thanks for coming on our tour of the top DigitalNC items from this year. For the curious, we topped 4 million pageviews and 400K users in 2018! We’re looking forward to working with partners to share even more of North Carolina’s cultural heritage in 2019. 


Microfilmed Newspaper Nominations Selected for Digitization, 2019

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 hundreds or thousands nominated. This year we’ve chosen the following titles and years.

Title Years Nominating Institution
Carolinian (Raleigh) 1946-1959 Olivia Raney Local History Library
Chatham Record (Pittsboro) 1923-1930 Chatham County Libraries
Chowan Herald (Edenton) 1934-1956 Shepard-Pruden Memorial Library
Concord Times 1923-1927 Cabarrus County Public Library
Goldsboro News 1922-1927 Wayne County Public Library
Yancey Record / Journal 1936-1977 AMY Regional Library System

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 mid-2019. 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 2019. 


Call for Nominations – North Carolina Newspaper Digitization, 2018

Young Man on Bicycle for Newspaper Delivery, photo by Albert Rabil, April 23, 1951. Courtesy the Braswell Memorial Library.

Young Man on Bicycle for Newspaper Delivery, photo by Albert Rabil, April 23, 1951. Courtesy the Braswell Memorial Library.

It’s time to announce our annual round of microfilmed newspaper digitization! As in previous years, we’re asking cultural heritage institutions in the state to nominate papers from their communities to be digitized. We’re especially interested in:

  • newspapers published 1923 or later,
  • newspapers that are not currently available in digital form elsewhere online, and/or
  • newspapers covering underrepresented regions or communities.

If you’re interested in nominating a paper and you work at a cultural heritage institution that qualifies as a partner, here’s what to do:

  • Check out our criteria for selecting newspapers, listed below.
  • Verify that the newspaper you’d like to see digitized exists on microfilm. Email us (digitalnc@unc.edu) if you’re not sure.
  • Send us an email with the name of the newspaper you would like to nominate, along with the priority years you’re interested in seeing online. Please talk briefly about how the paper and your institution meet the criteria below.
  • Be prepared to talk with the local rights holder(s) to gain written permission to digitize the paper and share it online. We can give you advice on this part, if needed.

Nominations will be taken through the end of 2018. However, don’t wait! We typically get many more requests than we can accommodate. Please contact us at digitalnc@unc.edu or 919-962-4836 with any questions. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.

Criteria for Selecting Newspapers to Digitize from Microfilm

Titles to be digitized will be selected using the following criteria:

  • Does the newspaper document traditionally underrepresented regions or communities?
  • Does the newspaper include significant coverage of the local community?
  • Does the newspaper come from an area of the state that has little representation on DigitalNC? (Titles that have not previously been digitized will be given priority.)
  • Are the images of the pages on microfilm legible, or are there significant sections where it is difficult to read the text?
  • Is the institution willing to obtain permission from the current publisher or rights holder(s) to digitize older issues and make them freely available online?
  • If the newspaper is digitized, will the nominating library promote the digital project through programs and announcements?

Changes Coming to DigitalNC.org

Towards the end of this year, you’ll be seeing some changes on DigitalNC.org. We’re in the process of migrating out of the software that supports the parts of our site that look like this:

Search results page for a CONTENTdm search for "lumber mill."

and this:

Photograph of a Haywood County lumber mill with title and subject terms.

After years of investigation, we’re pleased to announce that we’ve chosen to migrate DigitalNC’s collections to TIND Digital Archive. TIND is an official CERN spin-off providing library management systems, digital preservation, and research data management solutions based on CERN open source software (Invenio).

Blue text on white background, spelling TINDWhat does this mean for users? The current site will remain active and available right up until we switch everything over. However, until the migration is complete, newspapers will be the items most frequently added to DigitalNC (newspapers live in a different system).

TIND addresses some of the biggest areas for improvement identified through surveys and by looking at years of feedback. Those are:

  • Faster response time for searches and viewing items,
  • More relevant search results,
  • Easier to page through multi-page items,
  • Files that are easier to find and download, and
  • Full text search across ALL yearbooks.

Our partner institutions are already in the loop about the migration. We will give users a chance to preview the new site (or at least extensive screenshots) before we switch everything over. Before we change anything, we’ll give you a heads up via posts to this blog and social media outlets as well as banners on our website. So watch this space in the coming months for updates!

If you manage your own digital collections and would like more technical details related to the migration or information about why we have chosen TIND, just contact us.


Feel Good Friday: Partners, Colleagues, and Fans Talk About the Digital Heritage Center’s Impact

We’re sending out gratitude to all of our partners, colleagues, and fans, who helped celebrate our selection as a National Medal for Museum and Library Service finalist. We’ve pulled together all of the stories in blog posts, and a selection of tweets are showcased below.

Medal winners will be announced in late April. Regardless of outcome, we’re part of a strong community and look forward to more partnerships, collaborations, and creative ideas that increase access to North Carolina’s cultural heritage.

 


Partners Share Their Stories: Watauga County Public Library in Boone

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 Ross Cooper, Adult Services and Reference Librarian at Watauga County Public Library. We’ve worked with Watauga County Public Library to digitize a wide variety of photographs from their “Historic Boone” collection. They have steadily increased their local capacity for digitization and now make collections available to a broader audience at Digital Watauga.

Close up of around 30 boys and girls of elementary school age in a group, all facing the camera

Boone Elementary School Students, 1913 (Detail), Shared by Watauga County Public Library

“As a Reference Librarian at the Watauga County Public Library in Boone, North Carolina, I was fortunate to have been present when, with the help of the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center, our institution became first involved with historic preservation and digitization. A local group called Historic Boone wished to bequeath the historic images which their group had gathered, described, and cared for over several decades into the caretaking of our library, some ten years ago. Our then-County Librarian accepted the items and made a space for them. I was privileged at about the same time to attend a North Carolina Library Association annual conference presentation in which Nick Graham and Lisa Gregory of the University of North Carolina and the State Library of North Carolina presented on the ways that small public libraries and other institutions with limited resources might take some small steps towards preservation, scanning, and digitized sharing of materials within their collections which hold historical significance. This led us to a few small first attempts, including a blog-format web site with a few, piecemeal, scanned images. The offer of off-site digitization by the NC Digital Heritage Center which was additionally presented at this conference eventually led our library to transport the entire photograph archives of the Historic Boone society to the University of North Carolina to be digitized and shared online via www.digitalnc.org.

“The wide-spread community interest engendered by this undertaking and by the readily-accessible web presence was followed by the successful application by our new Regional Director for an EZ Digitization grant funded by the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). The NC Digital Heritage Center provided invaluable support, advice, and encouragement as we used this generous funding opportunity to purchase scanning and computing equipment and to fund a year-long temporary part-time position for a digitization technician. Our community was fortunate at this time to have a historian, Dr. Eric Plaag, move to our area and immediately begin actively and tirelessly working with our town, our library, and the local historical society on a number of projects involving preservation and dissemination of historical material. With his generously-volunteered expert advice, the steps which we had undertaken thanks to the NC Digital Heritage Center have now taken root and grown into a locally-based initiative, Digital Watauga, which is a cooperative venture between the Watauga County Historical Society and the Watauga County Public Library. Other local organizations, including the Junaluska Heritage Association, representing our county’s oldest historically African American community, and numerous interested individuals, have contributed to making this new and growing effort a success, on behalf of all of our area’s people. It was only through the expertise, assistance, and support of the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center that any of this work ‘left the ground’! As just one small portion – perhaps the small, rugged, mountainous, Northwestern portion – of the vast array of resources which have been preserved and shared by NC Digital heritage – the strides which we have made in saving and sharing our local history are a testament to the greater work which this institution has done throughout our state, an effort which extends far beyond our local area and our state’s boundaries. I cannot highly enough express my appreciation, personally and as a community member, and I sincerely and heartily endorse the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center as a perfect exemplar of the ideas and ideals which are recognized by the IMLS National Medal for Museum and Library Service.”


Partners Share Their Stories: UNC Charlotte

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 Dawn Schmitz, Associate Dean for Special Collections & University Archives at UNC Charlotte. We’ve worked with UNC Charlotte to digitize campus publications as well as, most recently, Q-Notes (mentioned and linked below). They have their own robust and growing digital collections site, which includes among other things motorsports photographs, papers documenting key figures in Charlotte history, and oral histories. Dawn’s comments are shared here today with permission.

Article text with rainbow colored picture of Charlotte skyline.

Front page article from the April 26, 2003 issue of Q-Notes.

“For several years, Atkins Library at UNC Charlotte has been working with partners in the Charlotte LGBTQ community to preserve and share their history. In 2015, Jim Yarbrough’s Pride Publishing agreed to donate to the library the entire run of Q-Notes, their high-quality and groundbreaking newspaper. We assured Jim we would do everything possible to have it digitized for the benefit of the Q-Notes staff and the entire community. But in the ensuing years, we found we were not able to raise the funding and did not have the staff to do the project in-house. We worried that we would let down the community that put their trust in us. Then, last year, NCDHC came to the rescue! When their call went out for collections to digitize that document traditionally underrepresented communities in our state, I answered it immediately to nominate Q-Notes. I think the answer “yes” came back  within 5 minutes! The digitization started right away, beginning with the first issue in 1986, when Q-Notes began publishing. As of this writing, nearly all issues have been digitized and made available on DigitalNC. Q-Notes frequently blogs to update readers as more issues have been digitized, and NCDHC has also written fabulous blog posts about Q-Notes that really capture its value for LGBTQ history. We are thrilled that this resource is being provided to the community open access, and we are so grateful to both NCDHC and Pride Publishing for making this possible. Too often, valuable resources such as Q-Notes end up behind paywalls and are essentially available only to a limited academic readership. And while Q-Notes is a treasure-trove for scholarly research about Southern queer history, it’s also vital to the broader community’s understanding of its past, including LGBTQ youth. We appreciate NCDHC and congratulate them on a well-deserved nomination for this prestigious award!”