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 tagged "10 for 10"


10 for 10: Celebrating NCDHC’s Birthday with Stakeholder Stories – Jennifer Finlay

Four individual taking a selfie with a stuffed toy dog, all wearing masks

Staff at Shepard-Pruden Memorial Library (L-R) Destinee Williams, Claudia Resta, Brandy Goodwin, Larry the Mascot, and Jennifer Finlay

This year marks the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center’s 10th anniversary, and to celebrate we’ll be posting 10 stories from 10 stakeholders about how NCDHC has impacted their organizations.

Today’s 10 for 10 Q&A is from Jennifer Finlay, Chowan County Librarian at Shepard-Pruden Memorial Library. (Library’s home page | NCDHC contributor page) We’ve worked with the Library to digitize issues of The Chowan Herald out of Edenton, NC. We were happy to work with them in a successful trial project to accept additional funds from partner organizations for newspaper digitization, too. Read below for more about our partnership with the Shepard-Pruden Memorial Library.

What impact has NCDHC had on your institution and/or on a particular audience that means a lot to you?

We had the good fortune of being chosen to have part of our local newspaper, The Chowan Herald, digitized by NCDHC in 2018. I then proposed an innovative approach to digitizing more years of the paper by having our local historic preservation grantors help fund more years. NCDHC had not done this in the past and the Shepard-Pruden Memorial Library was part of a pilot program. This helps small, rural and lightly funded libraries to be able to do digitization without having to learn all the technical aspects of digitization and hosting the results.

Do you have a specific user story (maybe your own!) about how DigitalNC has boosted research or improved access to important information?

This saves us so much time when we get the phone calls from out of state asking about a Chowan Herald article. We no longer have make time to go upstairs, fire up the microfilm machine, try and find an article with limited reference information and no index. We can either look for it ourselves while on the phone or give the link to the caller and they can have fun reliving the past.

If you were asked to “describe what makes NCDHC great” in a few words, what would they be?

NCDHC as a website is so much more user friendly than the state archives. (Sorry state archives). I love that Lisa Gregory and the decision makers of DigitalNC took a chance on us and tried something new.

Celebrating 10 years NC Digital Heritage Center, with confetti background


10 for 10: Celebrating NCDHC’s Birthday with Stakeholder Stories – Beth Blackwood

Head and shoulders view of archivist with glasses and long straight hair

Beth Blackwood, Digital Archivist at the John Spoor Broome Library at California State University Channel Islands

This year marks the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center’s 10th anniversary, and to celebrate we’ll be posting 10 stories from 10 stakeholders about how NCDHC has impacted their organizations.

Today’s 10 for 10 Q&A is from Beth Blackwood, Digital Archivist at the John Spoor Broome Library at California State University Channel Islands. From 2015-2017 Beth was a graduate student employee at NCDHC as she attended the School of Information and Library Science at UNC-Chapel Hill.  Our graduate student employees work hard scanning and describing our partners’ collections. You can see some of the collections Beth worked on here. They also write blog posts and work on special projects. Read below for Beth’s thoughts about NCDHC.

What impact has NCDHC had on your career?
I actively believe I got my first job out of graduate school because of NCDHC. I received profound mentorship from my supervisors and colleagues and had hands-on, regular experience with both physical processes and digital systems. I felt prepared and knowledgeable in my first job because of my time there. It was my first step in a career that I sincerely love.

What item or group of items on DigitalNC.org do you think everyone should know about?
During my first few months at DigitalNC, I spent a lot of time processing course catalogs, especially those from Sandhills Community College. I remember asking Lisa, “why would anyone need these?” These items always seemed so dry and dated. Lisa informed me that they could be useful for someone who was trying to recall what courses they had taken at the community college during their tenure and NCDHC might be the only online copies. I now work at a university that has many transfer students who are hoping to transfer credit from a long ago class a at Community College. I have had more than one successful case of helping a student find a digitized course catalog that they needed to prove their credit. I’ve never questioned digitizing the seemingly boring items again!

If you were asked to “describe what makes NCDHC great” in a few words, what would they be?
NCDHC is great because of their full circle service to the state of North Carolina. They preserve the smallest of stories from all communities and they train practitioners who will do the same.

Celebrating 10 years NC Digital Heritage Center, with confetti background


10 for 10: Celebrating NCDHC’s Birthday with Stakeholder Stories – Sylvia Stanback

Smiling adult head and shoulders view, wearing glasses and red and black clothing

Sylvia Stanback, Dudley High School Alumna

This year marks the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center’s 10th anniversary, and to celebrate we’ll be posting 10 stories from 10 stakeholders about how NCDHC has impacted their organizations.

Today’s 10 for 10 Q&A is from Sylvia Stanback, our contact at the Dudley High School Alumni Association. In 2019 we welcomed the Dudley Alumni Association as our 250th partner, as we worked with Sylvia to digitize yearbooks, photographs, and other school memorabilia. (Alumni Association’s home page | NCDHC contributor page) digitizing yearbooks and catalogs, maps, photographs, and newspapers. Dudley High School, located in Greensboro, was the first Black high school in Guilford County during segregation. Founded in 1929, the school was segregated until 1971. Unlike many Black high schools in the state, Dudley still operates. Sylvia and members of the Alumni Association are active in preserving Dudley’s history during segregation. Read below for more about our partnership with the Dudley Alumni Association.

What impact has NCDHC had on your institution and/or on a particular audience that means a lot to you?

Thanks to NC Digital Heritage Center – DigitalNC, I was able to put some of my old James B. Dudley High School yearbooks online for all former alumni, students, family and friends to view. Some of our DHS alumni did not have copies of their yearbooks from the 1950’s to view. Now, thanks to DigitalNC they can see and share these great documents anytime they want online.

Do you have a specific user story (maybe your own!) about how DigitalNC has boosted research or improved access to important information? 

As a result of my meeting your awesome staff, I am now part of a community driven project sponsored by the UNC Libraries, Community Driven Archives Mellon Grant team. This is a great opportunity for me to learn more about community archives. Thanks to my contact with DigitalNC, I can continue helping to preserve more of the history of the African American community in Greensboro, NC.

If you were asked to “describe what makes NCDHC great” in a few words, what would they be?

“History is not everything, but it is a starting point. History is a clock that people use to tell their political and cultural time of day. It is a compass they use to find themselves on the map of human geography. It tells them where they are but, more importantly, what they must be.” In my opinion, what makes NCDHC great is that the fact that it is an outlet to fulfill this great quote by the famous historian and lecturer, Dr. John Henrik Clarke.

Celebrating 10 years NC Digital Heritage Center, with confetti background


10 for 10: Celebrating NCDHC’s Birthday with Stakeholder Stories – Dawn Schmitz

Head and shoulders view of smiling archivist with collared shirt and business jacket

Dawn Schmitz, Associate Dean for Special Collections & University Archives at Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte

This year marks the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center’s 10th anniversary, and to celebrate we’ll be posting 10 stories from 10 stakeholders about how NCDHC has impacted their organizations.

Today’s 10 for 10 Q&A is from Dawn Schmitz, Associate Dean for Special Collections & University Archives at Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte. Since 2010, we’ve partnered with UNC-Charlotte’s Atkins Library (Library home page | NCDHC contributor page) digitizing yearbooks and catalogs, maps, photographs, and newspapers. You should also head over to Goldmine, their digital collections website, where you’ll find oral histories, maps, photographs, and other items documenting the history of the Charlotte area and UNC-Charlotte.  Read below for more about our partnership with UNC-C.

What impact has NCDHC had on your institution and/or on a particular audience that means a lot to you?

In 2017, you put out a call for nominations for digitization projects that would help document the history of underrepresented groups in our state. You immediately responded to my nomination of QNotes, a Charlotte LGBTQ newspaper that has been published since the 1980s.  As a result, this publication is now online, freely available to the community (rather than behind a paywall), and used regularly by QNotes staff, queer studies scholars and students, and the general public. To top it all off, your bloggers did an incredible job of promoting the resource, highlighting its significance for LGBTQ history. Jim Yarbrough, publisher of QNotes, wrote in the newspaper, “To see our staff’s work made available to a larger audience and future generations — it’s indescribable.”

Do you have a specific user story (maybe your own!) about how DigitalNC has boosted research or improved access to important information? 

There are so many examples of reference questions we have answered with a link to DigitalNC. One question I received from our University Communications office was particularly fun and satisfying to answer: When was our sports team first referred to as the forty-niners? Our Athletics department believed it was 1963. But using DigitalNC, I found a mention in the student newspaper two years earlier. (Charlotte collegian., November 01, 1961, page 4 )

What item or group of items on DigitalNC.org do you think everyone should know about?
It’s so hard to choose! For our alumni and the entire NinerNation, the student newspapers, yearbooks, and course catalogs are so important. I personally love the city directories for the wealth of information they contain about Charlotte in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

If you were asked to “describe what makes NCDHC great” in a few words, what would they be?

NCDHC a first-rate operation: responsive, professional, innovative, inclusive, community-engaged, and indispensable!

Celebrating 10 years NC Digital Heritage Center, with confetti background


10 for 10: Celebrating NCDHC’s Birthday with Stakeholder Stories – Erin Allsop

Headshot of smiling archivist with long straight hair and bright green clothing

Erin Allsop, Archivist, Central Piedmont Community College

This year marks the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center’s 10th anniversary, and to celebrate we’ll be posting 10 stories from 10 stakeholders about how NCDHC has impacted their organizations.

Today’s 10 for 10 Q&A is from Erin Allsop, Archivist at Central Piedmont Community College. Since 2014, we’ve partnered with CPCC’s Library (Library home page | NCDHC contributor page) digitizing yearbooks, catalogs, scrapbooks and photographs. Erin has also been involved with the North Carolina Community College Archives Association since its beginning in 2018. Read below for more about our partnership with CPCC

What impact has NCDHC had on your institution and/or on a particular audience that means a lot to you?

I am the archivist for Central Piedmont Community College, and cofounder of the NC Community College Archives Association. Community College history, and their archival collections, are often over-looked or discarded. Thanks to the NCDHC and their assistance, most of the Community College materials are being made accessible for future generations over time.

Central Piedmont Archives collections could not be made publicly available without the support of the Digital Heritage Center and their staff. While they provide a literal platform (database) to share our institutional heritage materials with the world, they also provide a figurative platform to advocate for greater support of community college history, and efforts of community college archivists, throughout North Carolina. NCDHC has provided a wealth of knowledge and support for these initiatives, without judgement. This means more to me than I can describe.

What item or group of items on DigitalNC.org do you think everyone should know about?

The Central Piedmont History Scrapbooks and Dental Hygiene yearbooks!!

If you were asked to “describe what makes NCDHC great” in a few words, what would they be?

The NCDHC is tantamount to the success of most (if not all) smaller institutional archives throughout our state. While their resources are a wonderful tool for us to use, contribute to, and share with a wider audience, the kindness and consideration of the staff I have interacted with makes working with NCDHC even more enjoyable. They are a team of dedicated information professionals, who genuinely want to make a difference in the world by providing the platform to those without a voice. Thank you, a million times over. I cannot wait to see what the next 10 years has in store!

Celebrating 10 years NC Digital Heritage Center, with confetti background


10 for 10: Celebrating NCDHC’s Birthday with Stakeholder Stories – Mike Legeros

Smiling individual seated on rear of fire truck with multiple cameras in hand

Mike Legeros. Photo credit: News and Observer

This year marks the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center’s 10th anniversary, and to celebrate we’ll be posting 10 stories from 10 stakeholders about how NCDHC has impacted their organizations.

Today’s 10 for 10 post is from Mike Legeros, historian and president of Raleigh’s Fire Museum (Museum home page | NCDHC contributor page). You can find a lot of research and additional documents at Mike’s history page as well. Since 2018, we’ve partnered with the Museum to digitize scrapbooks and history books.  Read below for more about our partnership with the Fire History Museum.

What impact has NCDHC had on your institution and/or on a particular audience that means a lot to you?

The NC Digital Heritage Center has been instrumental is helping the Raleigh Fire Museum add digital content to our archives and web site. And, in this era of COVID, they’re valuable additions to our virtual museum experience (e.g., web site), as our physical facility has remained closed. They digitized several scrapbooks of the Raleigh Fire Department’s Ladies Auxiliary, which operated from the 1950s to the 1970s. The scrapbooks offer an intimate and personal view of the department’s activities and members as well as their spouses. The NCDHC also digitized a pair of RFD history books, from 1984 and 2002, another fabulous addition. At a higher level, they’ve helped our staff think ahead to other future digital projects, and ways that we can help other fire museums and similar organizations preserve and present their history.

Celebrating 10 years NC Digital Heritage Center, with confetti background


10 for 10: Celebrating NCDHC’s Birthday with Stakeholder Stories – Marcy Thompson

Smiling individual behind a desk within a sunlit libraryThis year marks the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center’s 10th anniversary, and to celebrate we’ll be posting 10 stories from 10 stakeholders about how NCDHC has impacted their organizations.

Today’s 10 for 10 Q&A is from Marcy Thompson, Librarian in the Local History Room at Transylvania County Library. Since 2010, we’ve partnered with Transylvania County Library (Library home page | NCDHC contributor page) digitizing scrapbooks, newspapers, photos, architectural histories, and more. Over the last few years, Marcy has expanded relationships in communities throughout Transylvania County in order to document community groups. Read below for more about our partnership with Transylvania County Library.

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The Local History Room at the Transylvania County Library serves as the archives for Transylvania County. We are charged with collecting and preserving materials pertaining to Transylvania families, businesses, organizations and history including documents, photographs, manuscripts, newspapers, scrapbooks and more. The Local History Room is staffed by one full-time position responsible for the service desk, a small part-time staff and a team of volunteers, along with outreach and programming. By working with the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center we have been able to make materials accessible online through DigitalNC to people in our community and far beyond. This simply that would not have been possible without the platform, technical expertise and man-hours provided by NCDHC.

The Transylvania County Library signed an agreement with NCDHC in late 2010. Initially this was a collection of just over 200 images of downtown Brevard. The immediate benefit to our Local History Room was added publicity for the collection. Since that time we have added additional images, local newspapers, local high school yearbooks, architectural survey photos and documents, and most recently a large collection of community scrapbooks. Having all of these resources available online to the public is a huge achievement for a small rural library.

The newspaper collection, which covers 1903 through June 1940, is the material group that has had the largest impact on both library staff and users in the general public. These newspapers are available in our collection on microfilm, however they are not indexed. Through DigitalNC not only are they now available to a broader audience but they are searchable! It makes our jobs easier by being able to quickly locate information.

One example of this occurred while conducting research for a local program, display and series of articles in conjunction with the Suffrage Movement and 100th anniversary of the signing of the 19th Amendment. Rather than spending countless hours scouring microfilm we conducted searches to learn about local suffrage events, who supported and opposed suffrage, and changes brought about as a result of women gaining the right to vote.

DigitalNC has changed the way we provide service and benefited our library by opening access to resources that would otherwise be limited to only those who visit the Local History Room at the Transylvania County Library in Brevard, NC. What truly makes NCDHC great is what they make possible every day to a world of users!

Celebrating 10 years NC Digital Heritage Center, with confetti background