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Digital Collections

Digital Projects Status, 2016-2017

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Good Medicine
This LSTA-funded project involved digitizing 47,000 items (over 62,000 items were ultimately completed) related to the history of medical practice in Greensboro. The $60,000-plus grant was completed in collaboration with the Greensboro History Museum, Cone Health Medical Library, and the Greensboro Public Library, with UNCG as the lead.
  • Project is complete and we exceeded the number of items promised by nearly 15,000.
  • 62,000-plus items online, making it our largest completely in-house project ever.
  • New pathfinders completed to link to specific topic-based items in lieu of more traditional contextual essays: http://libcdm1.uncg.edu/cdm/goodmedpathways/

Cone Hospital Records
This project resulted in the digitization of nearly 20,000 items from the Cone Hospital Collection held by the Cone Health Medical Library. Cone Health provided corporate funding for the project.
  • Complete with the exception of a couple of low-priority scrapbooks we're finishing up. All funding has been received, though we were actually under budget on payroll.
  • This project led to the larger Good Medicine project (above).

I Wish to Say
This project, part of the University Libraries Digital Partners Grant program, digitized and transcribed  items from UNCG faculty member Sheryl Oring’s “I Wish to Say” art project, specifically 3200 postcards composed by participants and mailed to national and world leaders. Oring’s project has received significant national attention and has been published in a book. We coordinated the digitization and ingest into CONTENTdm and the devlopment team built an API-based interface.
  • Complete. Working on a second phase.
  • Over 3200 items online.

Slave Ads Grant
A UNCG strategic seed grant ($20,000) was to support a pilot project for the next phase of the NC Runaway Slave Ads project (one of our most-used digitized collections) which will identify, digitize, and transcribe ads that appeared in North Carolina newspapers from 1840-1865. The grant supports hiring of student workers to benchmark the project and also to coordinate a classroom integration aspect, with HIS and LIS students working on class projects related to the project.
  • Applied for and received UNCG strategic seed grant. Project in progress.
  • Worked with 3 classes already, 2 student workers hired.

Women's Professional Forum Records
This collection was donated to the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives with funds for processing and digitization.
  • Processing was not complete for last year's cycle.
  • Student in place and working on this now. May hire an additional student.

American Publishers Trade Bindings metadata cleanup
This is a project to clean up faulty metadata associated with a ten-year-old (but ongoing) digitization project involving rare decorative bookbindings.
  • Almost done. projected completion late summer/early fall.

Children's Literature (Phase 2)
A project to digitize unique and rare children’s books held by UNCG.
  • In progress as time and resources permit.
Early Cello Manuscripts
Project to digitize early cello manuscripts, some dating to the 1700s, from our vast cello music holdings.
  • Complete. Added an additional 500-plus pages in addition to the promised 750.

Maud Gatewood Papers
Project to digitize the papers of artist Maud Gatewood, for whom UNCG’s studio arts building is named. The collection includes thousands of sketches in addition to other items.
  • Largely complete. Still assessing some oversize sketches for scanning vs. photography.

Peter Paul Fuchs Papers (Phase 1)
Project to digitize music scores pertaining to Peter Paul Fuchs, a Greensboro conductor, composer, and teacher.
  • Complete. Approximately 1600 pages of material.

Women Veterans Historical Project
Ongoing contributions to one of our most-used digitized collections.
  • Added 24 oral histories, plus about 500 additional items (photos, documents, etc.)

Alpha Delta Kappa Records
Digitized records (mostly scrapbooks) from collection of records related to an organization of women educators at UNCG.
  • In progress: Promised 3600 pages, completed 7611 pages. Maybe halfway done at this point.
  • Project much bigger than anticipated.

Metadata projects
  • DPLA rights statements (http://rightsstatements.org/) completely implemented on all but one collection. ETA for completion: End of July.
  • Worked out local subject tags issue controlled vocabulary and implemented changes on Good Medicine. Holding off on retrofitting other collections pending CDM replacement.

Other accomplishments, side projects, etc.
  • CONTENTdm site redesign with new navigation and improved user interface. 
  • Additional small-project work with Greensboro History Museum:
  • Greensboro Business Magazine digitization completed.

History Students Contribute to the UNCG Runaway Slave Ad Database

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During the Spring semester 2017, students in the history research methods classes, HIS 391 and 430, helped to expand the UNCG NC Runaway Slave Advertisements Database. The current database contains advertisements through 1840 and is one of the most widely used digital collections maintained by the UNCG Library. Colson Whitehead acknowledged the database as an important resource for his award winning novel, The Underground Railroad. Students researched newspapers published across North Carolina in the 1850s and 1860s to add new material to the database.

The project offered valuable firsthand experience in how primary sources are digitized and how digitization changes the research process. Library staff trained students in the use of microfilm readers and archival practices for digitizing primary sources, including scanning the original documents and identifying the metadata that will assist researchers in searching the collected advertisements. Students learned how digitization changes the process of historical interpretation—what kind of information is lost and what is gained. For example, they considered what they learned from seeing a runaway slave ad in the context of the original newspaper page and how that context is lost when ads are collected and organized in a database. On the other hand they learned it is possible to study many more digitized ads searching the database compared to the amount of time it took to read the microfilmed newspaper and identify each advertisement.

After collecting and scanning the advertisements, students designed a wide variety of individual research projects on topics inspired by the primary sources.

This advertisement for the remarkable runway, James Lord, who worked as a Pressman for the Fayetteville Observer, inspired a student research project on the ways that runaway slave ads document literacy among slaves.
Topics ranged from the experience of women runaways to constructions of African American masculinity; from medical practices documented in the ads that described marks from cupping and lancets to an exploration of the objects that runaways took with them when they escaped; from the distinctive experience of runaways in the North Carolina mountains to the maroon communities of the coast.  Newspapers from the Civil War era were included in the sample so that we could see how the last years of slavery affected runaway experience. Students made fascinating discoveries about the continued use of runaway advertisements long after the 13th Amendment ended slavery.

This advertisement for runaway George Washington was published in the Greensboro Patriot in November 1867. It inspired a student to research the role of the Freedman’s Bureau and the continued practice of indenturing workers after the Civil War ended.
The Library has been awarded a strategic seed grant to expand the database and the advertisements collected by history students will be added to the database in the coming months.

(Contributed by Dr. Lisa Tolbert, UNCG Department of History)

Using Research Aids for Good Medicine

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We are excitedly nearing the completion of our LSTA-funded Good Medicine project. As of last week, we had uploaded 3,850 items on the Greensboro's history of medical institutions and the practice of medicine We also know that this is a lot for anyone to comb through without some kind of guide, and to that end we've put together a few research aids to get you started in all your history of Greensboro medicine needs: what we've been calling the pathway.

These are guides to finding primary source materials for some of the research for which we know Good Medicine is needed. Each research aid will offer a very short summary of some of the history surrounding the topic. Then it will have a series of direct links to primary source items in the project. It will also point you to other parts of UNCG's digital offerings on the topic, bringing together materials from the Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project, Civil Rights Greensboro, and a number of other UNCG and community resources. The first topic guide completed was on the topic of the Simkins v. Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital, 323 F.2d 959 (1963) court case, credited with ending segregation in publicly funded health care.

The pathfinder
currently has the following topic guides:
In the future, we hope to add even more! Some of these topics might include:
  • The history of individual Greensboro-area hospitals
  • The growth of Richardson-Vicks and the Vick Chemical Company
  • Dr. Anna Gove’s work with The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
These will be written by staff and students working on the project, and will provide context and direction in a large project. Hopefully, these will make it even easier to research Greensboro's unique contributions to public medicine.

Good Medicine Project Update

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The LSTA-funded Good Medicine project is proceeding on schedule. As of last week we have scanned over 27,000 items for the project. We are currently focused on the Wesley Long Hospital Collection, the Eloise Patricia Rallings Lewis Papers, and the Dr. Anna Maria Gove Papers. We are also working on several photo collections held by the Greensboro History Museum.

The photo of Wesley Long Hospital above, taken yesterday afternoon from the LeBauer Medical Building, is quite a change from this one, taken in 1960:



Wesley Long moved to its current site in 1961 and was greatly expanded in 1976. It because part of the Cone Health system in 1997. The digital collection will eventually document all these events,


More to come!




Full house

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A full house in Digital Projects working on Good Medicine. We're closing in on the halfway point, with almost 20,000 items scanned. Many of these are already online as well, although the site is technically "under construction."

We've also added new material to the Cello Collections and Composer Collections, not to mention the full run of North Carolina Community Progress, an extension publication of the North Carolina College for Women (now UNCG) from the 1920s.

And, by the way, we've redesigned our website to make it easier to explore our collections. Let us know what you think!