Digital Projects end-of-year update, 2013-2014


At the end of the academic year, we do a report to the Digital Projects Priorities Team on the past year's activities. This is an edited version of that report. It was a very productive year.

My thanks to the team: to Erica Rau and Kathy Howard in Digital Projects, who did such great work on so many projects; to Callie Coward and Anna Craft from Cataloging; and to Scott Hinshaw, Kathelene McCarty Smith, and everyone else in the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives. Thanks as well to the department where Digital Projects "lives", Electronic Resources and Information Technology, for a level of support that goes far beyond the call of duty. We couldn't so many great projects without a real collaborative team and I really appreciate the way everyone pulls together to accomplish all our goals!

Special thanks to Stephen Catlett, who completes his tenure as Textiles, Teachers, and Troops project manager this week after doing some amazing work over the past two years. Stephen did an incredible job working with our partners and students on TTT as well as with community outreach on our CBR/local history grant project and coordination of displays and our launch event in April. We are very much going to miss having him around and hope we can rectify that situation soon!

Also, many thanks to this year's team of student workers (Evan Chu, Megan Coker, Tatiana Cox, Rachel Sanders, James Stewart, Phil White, and Hayley Whitehead) and our volunteers (Larry Daniels, Bernitae Reed, and Touger Vang). Your efforts are much appreciated and we couldn't do any of this without you!

An announcement of this year's approved and continuing projects will be available in the next few weeks.

2013-2014 Project Status:
Other Projects:
Some Numbers:

We now have 251003 digital files in CONTENTdm, our digital content management system, making 25243 items and spanning nearly a thousand years of history...although most are admittedly from the past 150 years or so.

Included are:
  • 8243 newspapers
  • 4968 photos/photo folders
  • 2223 clippings/folders and items containing clipping
  • 1529 pamphlets
  • 928 pieces of correspondence
  • 702 music scores

Preserving Local History/CBR wrapup

This post marks the formal end of our Preserving Local History project. Both Rachel Sanders and Megan Coker graduated in early May and are off to  graduate school pursuing library and information studies degrees; Rachel will be attending UNC Chapel Hill, and Megan is entering the USC in Columbia in the fall. We wish them well and the very best as they continue their studies  They really made our project possible and were wonderful representatives for UNCG out in the community, and a delight to work with. as well.

David Gwynn, Digital Projects Coordinator, at final CBR group presentation on April 24.

We participated in the final CBR group presentations on April 24, which included this PowerPoint presentation We also submitted our final report to the Office of Leadership and Service-Learning in May. For the project proper, one of our primary goals was to create a best practices manual. This publication brings together information we uncovered from our camera and equipment tests and from working out various procedures, and combines them in a short, hopefully readable, manual. As you will see there were both successes and challenges, most of which we overcame to our satisfaction. If you are interested in using a portable camera-based digitizing approach to capture and preserve your valuable historical materials, we hope you will find this helpful. It is possible that we will update it in the future, as we find other or better approaches to field-based digitization, so you might want to check back in the next year. If you have any questions whatsoever, please feel free to contact David Gwynn at

One additional item we would like to share, which took a lot of work on Rachel’s part, is a transcript of the team and community meeting conversations that occurred at the November 19, 2013 meeting held at College Place Methodist Church. This was a very useful and informative event and we were very appreciative of those who came to the meeting and shared information and concerns.

Finally, and most importantly, you will see on the UNCG Digital Collections website that we created a Community Collections section where we have placed the digitized material we did for College Place United Methodist Church. You will also note that we did some additional field scanning at Lindley Elementary School, First Presbyterian Church, and at West Market Street United Methodist Church. Several other organizations who attended the November 19 meeting at CPUMC expressed an interest in having us come out during the Spring to their locations. We sincerely apologize that we were not able to accommodate more of you, since we certainly value your institutions and your historical materials. We would love to do more, and in fact are hoping that we can continue this process in some form in the future.

This has been a great experience for us, for the University, and hopefully for the organizations that participated in our survey and meeting.

We hope to continue the community outreach in the future as we move forward toward creating a local history website that can accommodate a wide range of material from organizations and individuals throughout the city.

-  by Stephen Catlett

In the news


Our very own Stephen Catlett discusses Greensboro's Overseas Replacement/Basic Training Center 10 (ORD/BTC-10) army base from World War II in a story on WFMY News 2 Wednesday night. Stephen authored this booklet as part of an exhibit at the Greensboro Historical Museum in 1994, and is something of an authority on the subject of the base. In the story, he and reporter Lechelle Yates visit some of the last remnants of the base in East Greensboro.

ORD/BTC-10 features prominently in the just-released Textiles, Teachers, and Troops project and several images from the digital collection were used in the WFMY story.

New digital collections

The Digital Projects team announces the debut of several new digital collections:

  • Charles Duncan McIver Records
    This collection makes available the papers of UNCG's founder and first president, largely in their entirety. Comprising over 123,000 pages of material, the McIver Records document the founding and early years of the North Carolina State Normal and Industrial School (now UNCG) and include material on early construction, the typhoid epidemic, and the fire that destroyed Brick Dormitory. This collection was digitized as part of the larger Textiles, Teachers, and Troops grant project funded through an LSTA grant administered by the North Carolina State Library.
  • Robert Watson Papers
    The Robert W. Watson Manuscripts date from 1948 to 1980 and contain manuscripts, typescripts, publisher's proofs and galleys, clippings, correspondence, photographs, and reviews. Watson was the main architect of UNCG's Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program, considered one of the best in the nation. The Watson Papers have been digitized almost in their entirety (nearly 6000 pages of material); several folders were skipped due to copyright concerns. 
  • Home Economics, Food, and Nutrition Pamphlets Collection
    The Home Economics and Nutrition Pamphlets Collection consists of government and commercial publications on the subject of home management and nutrition and include educational materials, recipes, household hints, and other materials. The digital collection was built from resources held in the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives and the University Libraries Government Documents Collection. All materials are presumed to be in the public domain. The Government Documents portion of the collection was digitized as UNCG's contribution to the ASERL Centers of Excellence Program. Additional materials will be added in subsequent phases.
More new collections will be announced next week.

Preserving Local History Update

On March 20, I participated in the eighth annual Carolyn & Norwood Thomas Undergraduate Research and Creativity Expo on behalf of our team.  It was certainly an exciting and informative expo - there were at least a hundred other student presenters!

The expo was particularly well set up, and I greatly enjoyed viewing the presentations and posters of others. The expo was set up in an interesting way that really provided students the opportunity to present in ways that best suited individual needs and presentation styles.  There were three options for presenting:  poster, verbal presentation, and creative presentations.  I chose to make a poster to hang for public viewing, as did most of the other participants.   Several judges came by to view each poster and ask questions.  The judges seemed interested in what we are doing, and several commented that this project seemed innovative and well done.  That feedback was certainly the type that we like to hear, and it was encouraging - we want to see how outsiders view our purpose and our mission as much as possible.

Next up on the agenda is wrapping up calls to potential participants, making possible on-site visits, creating charts and a modified presentation for a few upcoming events, and working on that all-important best practices manual!

Textiles, Teachers, and Troops project launch


Textiles, teachers, and troops project launch from jdgwynn

The Digital Projects team are proud to announce the launch of Textiles, Teachers, and Troops: Greensboro, 1880-1945. The website was publicly presented last night for the first time during an event at the Greensboro Historical Museum. Speakers included Dr. Kevin Cherry, Deputy Secretary of Archives and History in the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources; Stephen Catlett; Digital Project Manager for the UNCG University Libraries; and David Gwynn, Digital Projects Coordinator at UNCG.

Textiles, Teachers, and Troops makes available more than 175,000 digital images including photographs, manuscripts, rare books, scrapbooks, printed materials, and oral histories documenting the social and cultural development of Greensboro. The project is a collaboration between UNCG, Bennett College, Greensboro College, Greensboro Historical Museum, Greensboro Public Library, Guilford College, and N.C. A&T State University, documenting the history of Greensboro from 1880-1945 through the influence of the textile industry, education, and the military.

The project was funded in part through a Library Services and Technology Act Grant administered by the State Library of North Carolina.

The project website may be seen at

March Update: Preserving Local History

After a long and crazy winter (weather-wise), the Preserving Local History team is hard at work completing our research and getting ready for a series of presentations and meetings.  The Undergraduate Research Expo, which is coming up in the next few weeks, is one presentation that I in particular am excited to participate in – more details on those preparations and results will come over the course of the next few weeks.

In the meantime, I have been making calls and sending emails to organizations that we have identified as potential survey contributors.  This process is challenging, because most of the calls being made are cold calls – we have not spoken with these organizations before.  There has, however, been a lot of progress made and a lot of people seem interested in participating in the project.  Many people seem to be surprised at the prospect of a community website/database – many are also surprised that this research group is providing the services and advice free of charge.

Stephen and Megan are hoping to  visit a few of the local organizations that completed the survey during the fall to further assess their needs and to digitize a few items as well as collect information on their overall  archives. I have not had as much of a role as far as field visits or meetings because of my schedule (I am tied up with student teaching at Northwest High School – GO VIKINGS! – this semester).  However, I know that progress is being made, and if my data and work are any indication of what is going on with the other members of the team, I feel certain that we will have a successful and informative semester.

If you know of a local organization or group that would be interested in participating in our study, please email for more information.

-Rachel Sanders-