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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Fans Share Their Stories: Taneya Y. Koonce, Genealogist and Researcher

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 Taneya Y. Koonce, a native North Carolinian, information professional, and a well known genealogist. She shares her research and methods on Taneya’s Genealogy Blog and her new Koonce surname site. One of her projects includes indexing names from digitized yearbooks to help improve searchability by transcribing names. Taneya shared the thoughts below in support of our Medal application and we reshare them today with her permission.

Screenshot of the home page for the yearbook index, including a description of the site and search boxes.“My interest in the NCDHC stems from my passion for researching family history and genealogy. I am a native North Carolinian and over the past 12 years I have been an active participant in the online genealogy community as I’ve researched not only my own family tree, but aided in the research of many others. I have high visibility in the genealogy community and maintain leadership roles in the national USGenWeb Project, a volunteer-driven group that provides free resources to individuals researching their family heritage. I am currently the Assistant State Coordinator in the North Carolina-focused component of the project (the NCGenWeb) and work closely with researchers from across the country who have family roots in the state. I spearhead several projects designed to further maximize the reach and impact of the NCDHC work (such as an online index to graduating seniors listed in the yearbooks from the digitized yearbook collection), and have become intimately familiar with the Center’s collections.

“When the NCDHC began, I was immediately excited by their emergence and the potential for the wealth of resources that would be made more broadly available to those with North Carolina-related family history and historical interests. The digitization of state materials offers increased access for many such as myself, who are unable to visit the physical locations where these resources are housed. The breadth of material the NCDHC makes available – yearbooks, newspapers, images & memorabilia, city directories, and audio-visual resources, are a cross-cutting representation of the many format types historians, educators, and genealogists leverage for our respective fields of inquiry. Staff at the Center also incorporate industry-leading approaches to content delivery; such as the reader used for displaying historic newspapers which is an adaptation of the Library of Congress (LOC) platform for their monumental site. The NCDHC is just one of the few institutions that have adopted the LOC reader; a move which embodies the Center’s willingness to offer innovative solutions to site visitors. NCDHC participates in the Digital Public Library of America, contributes code to GitHub, and most recently has been purposeful in expanding the diversity of collection materials. These efforts are demonstrative of the Center’s strive for excellence. The Center has worked with steady focus to expand the geographical representation of the digital collection and currently has material from libraries, archives, schools, and cultural institutions from across the entire state – a quite admirable feat. Through their social media platforms, the Center also regularly engages in discourse with their constituents, providing timely and thoughtful replies to submitted questions; I’ve found their customer service to be at the highest caliber.”

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