Help Videos for Digital NC

In addition to the guide to viewing images, I created two videos to help DigitalNC users navigate our online collections.

Keyword Searching

 

Location Searching

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Viewing Images on Digital NC

Many of our users are unfamiliar with the interface we use for viewing images through CONTENTdm.  I created a help page to break down the important components of the image viewer that users may like to use.

Image Viewer_Page_1

Click the image to see the full document.

SNCA 2012 – Tarheel Jesse

The opening session on the final day of the Society of North Carolina Archivists was a talk by Ralph P. Ganis about Jesse James’ connection to North Carolina. As a historian, Ganis spent a lot of time doing interviews and searching through archival collections. He found some interesting connections, and explained that Jesse James and his gang probably spent a great deal of time in North Carolina, since their families in Missouri had emigrated from North Carolina years before, and they still had family members back east. Contrary to the mythology portrayed in the movies, Jesse James did not spend his entire life out west, and probably came back to live in the more populated eastern cities, where he could more easily hide from the law and depend on family. I think the talk may have been interesting for archivists to learn how their jobs can help support research like this, but for me, it was just interesting since I did that kind of research as a history major in college! It definitely sparked an interest in me to learn more about Jesse James, and I added Ganis’ books to my “to-read” list!

SNCA 2012 – Collection Management

I was really surprised by this session – surprised that there are archives out there without a collection development policy. I had not idea that this was not something standard that all archives and special collections departments have, because to me, it’s just common sense. I guess I have been lucky to have worked at institutions that have been ahead of the game. I was shocked that some departments have materials that are in no way related to their institution, community, or location, and are just “stuck” with them. It seems like many places have a lot of work cut out for them trying to get their collections in shape.

SNCA 2012 – State of African American Archives

During this session three people spoke about their experiences with African American Archives. One, an archival professor at NCCU, expressed her efforts to instill in her students a respect for their communities. She tries to teach her students to go out into their communities and seek out opportunities to help small archival collections, such at their local churches, community organizations, or even the personal papers of their neighbors. It is up to them to act as advocates for their friends and neighbors, and recognize the importance of the materials that many individuals in African American communities do not think others will find valuable. All three speakers stressed that trust was a huge factor in building African American collections, and archivists must be cautious, but persistent in their efforts to discover, organize, and preserve the unique history of African American communities.

SNCA 2012 – Poster Session

This was my first time presenting a professional poster at a conference. The session was great – I met a lot of people interested in the NC Digital Heritage Center’s digitization projects. Many of the people who came up and spoke to me were people who have worked with us on other digitization projects, or were interested in working with us. It was nice to meet some archivists from around the state who have a real interest and stake in our work. However, I wish the session was a little longer, and that the posters were up for longer. I would have liked more time to talk to people!

Click the image to view the poster.

Click the image to view the poster.

Wake County Images

Sometimes the NCDHC picks up a project right in the middle, or improves an existing collection. This week, I was given a collection of images from Wake County Public Library (WCPL) that have already been digitized. Some of the images had already been uploaded onto a WCPL website that the library could no longer maintain. I was given over 900 files, and had to sort them by type: image, newspaper clipping, and documents. We decided not to do anything with the newspaper clippings, as they were all from Raleigh papers that the NCDHC plans to digitize later. I was then able to use the existing website to find information on the images. I organized the information into metadata that can more easily be standardized and used on the NCDHC site.

Digital Humanities Talk

Today I was able to attend a talk on the digital humanities by Brett Bobley, the Director of the Digital Humanities at the National Endowment for the Humanities. He spoke a lot about different digital projects the NEH is working on, and seemed particularly excited about newspaper digitization projects that are popping up all over the country. He described the different initiatives that are funded by NEH grants, and discussed a lot of what other libraries are doing out there. It was very exciting to know that the NCDHC is right out there on the front lines with advancing digital content available on the web. As I’ve learned through my work, it’s clear that there are still trends and workflows being hammered out. We are constantly trying to figure out the best ways to tackle this project, and it’s nice to know that there are others struggling with the same issues.

North Carolina State Highway Maps

The NCDHC sometimes collaborates with UNC’s North Carolina Map Collection by contributing maps that we digitize from other collections. I was just assigned a group of state highway maps to research and upload online. The Digital Production Center in Wilson Library has already digitized the oversize maps, and I am going to assign metadata to them. I started on one map today, opening the files to examine and search for metadata clues. Maps are a bit different from images in their metadata content, in that the geographic data is more detailed, and there is much more description. Most of the maps in this particular collection are very similar, and were all made by the state of North Carolina, so their metadata varies little. However, there is still a good amount of work to be done in identifying the coordinates, dates and descriptions. My goal is to have all of these maps completed and online by the end of December.

Thesaurus of Graphic Materials (TGM)

Images in the NCDHC collection are assigned tags that aid the researcher in identification. Almost anything can be tagged, from fences, to post offices, to lawyers. But I learned pretty quickly that the digital archivist cannot just assign tags as they please, there is a set of standardized tags already in use by the Library of Congress, called the Thesaurus of Graphic Materials (TGM). This thesaurus allows you to search for a word you may want to use, such as “cows,” for example, and gives you the scope of the term, whether or not to use a different term, related terms, broader terms, and narrower terms. Instead of “cows” you could use “cattle” or “livestock” as a broader term. Or, you could use “dairy cows.” Say you have an image of slaves becoming emancipated, so you want to use the term “emancipation.” The TGM will tell you not to use “emancipation,” but instead, use “liberty.” All images in the NCDHC are assigned such tags, and can be used to browse on the website by either alphabetical order, or frequency.