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Digital Collections

Digital Collections Updates

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So as we start a new academic year, we thought this would be a good time for an update on what we've been working on recently.


Digital collections migration:

After more than a year's delay, the migration of our collections into a new and more user-friendly (and mobile-friendly) platform driven by the Islandora open-source content management system is in the home stretch. This has been a major undertaking and has given us the opportunity to reassess how our collections work. We hope to be live with the new platform in November. 30,000 items (over 380,000 digital images) have already been migrated.

2019-2020 Projects:

We've made significant progress on most of this year's projects (see link for project descriptions), though many of these are currently not yet online pending our migration to the Islandora platform:

Grant-funded projects:

  • Temple Emanuel Project: We are working with the Public History department and a graduate student in that program. Several hundred items have already been digitized and more work is being done. We are also exploring grant options with the temple to digitize more material.
  • People Not Property: NC Slave Deeds Project: We are in the final year of this project funded by the National Archives and hope to have it online as part of the Digital Library on American Slavery late next year. We are also exploring additional funding options to continue this work.
  • Women Who Answered the Call: This project was funded by a CLIR Recordings at Risk grant. The fragile cassettes have been digitized and we are midway through the process of getting them online in the new platform.

Library-funded projects:

  • Poetas sin Fronteras: Poets Without Borders, the Scrapbooks of Dr. Ramiro Lagos: These items have been digitized and will go online when the new platform launches.
  • North Carolina Runaway Slaves Ads Project, Phase 2: Work continues on this ongoing project and over 5700 ads are now online. This second phase has involved both locating and digitizing/transcribing the ads, and we will soon triple the number of ads done in Phase One. We are also working on tighter integration of this project into the Digital Library on American Slavery.
  • PRIDE! of the Community: This ongoing project stemmed from an NEH grant two years ago and is growing to include numerous new oral history interviews and (just added) a project to digitize and display ads from LGBTQ+ bars and other businesses in the Triad during the 1980s and 1990s. We are also working with two Public History students on contextual and interpretive projects based on the digital collection.


Faculty-involved projects:

  • Black Lives Matter Collections: This is a community-based initiative to document the Black Lives Matter movement and recent demonstrations and artwork in the area. Faculty: Dr. Tara Green (African America and Diaspora Studies);  Stacey Krim, Erin Lawrimore, Dr. Rhonda Jones, David Gwynn (University Libraries).
  • Civil Rights Oral Histories: This has become multiple projects. We are working with several faculty members in the Media Studies department to make these transcribed interviews available online. November is the target. Faculty: Matt Barr, Jenida Chase, Hassan Pitts, and Michael Frierson (Media Studies); Richard Cox, Erin Lawrimore, David Gwynn (University Libraries).
  • Oral Contraceptive Ads: Working with a faculty member and a student on this project, which may be online by the end of the year. Faculty: Dr. Heather Adams (English); David Gwynn and Richard Cox (University Libraries).
  • Well-Crafted NC: Work is ongoing and we are in the second year of a UNCG P2 grant, working with a faculty member in eth Bryan School and a brewer based in Asheboro. Faculty: Erin Lawrimore, Richard Cox, David Gwynn (University Libraries), Dr. Erick Byrd (Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Hospitality, and Tourism)

New projects taken on during the pandemic:

  • City of Greensboro Scrapbooks: Huge collection of scrapbooks from the Greensboro Urban Development Department dating back to the 1940s. These items have been digitized and will go online when the new platform launches.
  • Negro Health Week Pamphlets: 1930s-1950s pamphlets published by the State of North Carolina. These items are currently being digitized and will go online when the new platform launches.
  • Clara Booth Byrd Collection: Manuscript collection. These items are currently being digitized and will go online when the new platform launches.
  • North Carolina Speaker Ban CollectionManuscript collection. These items are currently being digitized and will go online when the new platform launches.
  • Mary Dail Dixon Papers: Manuscript collection. These items are currently being digitized and will go online when the new platform launches.
  • Ruth Wade Hunter Collection: Manuscript collection. These items are currently being digitized and will go online when the new platform launches.

Projects on hold pending the pandemic:

  • Junior League of Greensboro: Much of this has already been digitized and will go online when the new platform launches.
  • UNCG Graduate School Bulletins: Much of this has already been digitized and will go online when the new platform launches. 

David Gwynn (Digitization Coordinator, me) offers kudos to Erica Rau and Kathy Howard (Digitization and Metadata Technicians); Callie Coward (Special Collections Cataloging & Digital Projects Library Technician); Charley Birkner (Technology Support Technician); and Dr. Brian Robinson (Fellow for Digital Curation and Scholarship) for their great work in very surreal circumstances over the past six months.

Digitization priorities, 2019-2020

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The Digital Projects Priorities Team met on 7 August 2019 and approved the following projects for 2019-2020:

New projects:

Grant-funded digitization:
  • Women Who Answered the Call: Digitizing the Oral Histories of Women who Served in the U.S. Military and the American Red Cross:
    Digitize and preserve at-risk audiovisual materials (303 audiocasettes, 6 open-reel audiotapes, and 1 VHS videotape) that are part of the Women Veterans Historical Project. Funded via a CLIR Recordings at Risk Grant (Beth Ann Koelsch and David Gwynn)
Library-funded digitization:
  • Public Domain Cello Scores and Journals: The project would include the digitization of public domain scores and a set of journals from the Cello Music Collection (Stacey Krim).
  • UNCG Dance Theses, 1951-1978:
    This proposal seeks to digitize a collection of Dance theses created by UNCG students between 1951 and 1978. These unique materials exist only in physical copies at this time, and they were not included in a previous retrospective thesis and dissertation digitization project due to considerations including size and accompanying materials (Anna Craft).
  • Poetas sin Fronteras: Poets Without Borders, the Scrapbooks of Dr. Ramiro Lagos:
    The proposed project is to digitize a series of scrapbooks and photograph albums documenting the life and career of Dr. Ramiro Lagos, a professor emeritus of poetry in the Romance Languages Department at UNCG, to facilitate access online and to return some of the physical items back to the donor (Patrick Dollar).
  • Digitizing of Home Economics Material in UNCG LIbrary Stacks:
    Digitize pre-1923 home economics items, ranging from cookbooks to books about household arithmetic, which are housed in the stacks (Callie Coward and Erica Rau).
Faculty research projects:
  • Civil Rights Oral Histories:
    Pilot project to make available interviews conducted by Matthew Barr (Media Studies) as part of a documentary project using OHMS (Oral History Metadata Synchronizer) and the Omeka platform. This will serve as a proof of concept for an upcoming grant application that will involve collaboration between the University Libraries and Media Studies.
Community outreach projects:
  • Temple Emmanuel Project:
    Support Temple Emmanuel in a grant application to digitize newsletters by providing set-up support and hosting for the materials.

Continuing/ongoing projects:

Grant-funded digitization:
  • People Not Property: NC Slave Deeds Project:
    Year 2 of an NHPRC-funded project to digitize and transcrive scale deeds from 26 North Carolina counties. Collaborative endeavor between the UNCG University Libraries, North Carolina Division of Archives and Records, and North Carolina Registers of Deeds among others.
Library-funded digitization:
Faculty research projects:
  • Oral Contraceptive Ads:
    Support digitization and hosting of a research project for Dr, Heather Adams (English) via a UNCG Libraries Digital Partners Grant.
  • Well-Crafted NC:
    Support digitization and hosting a of a project by Erin Lawrimore, Richard Cox, David Gwynn (all UNCG Libraries) and Dr. Erick Byrd (Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Hospitality & Tourism) supported by a P2 Grant from the UNCG Office of Community Engagement.
  • PRIDE! of the Community:
    Support continuation of a project by Stacey Krim, Partick Dollar, and David Gwynn (UNCG Libraries), initially funded through an NEH grant to document the Triad's LGBTQ+ community
  • TriadHistory.org:
    Continue efforts to expand web presence and community events via a collaborative local history collective of Triad cultural heritage institutions. UNCG representatives are David Gwynn (chair) and Erin Lawrimore.
Community outreach projects:
Infrastructure projects:
  • Islandora Migration:
    Complete migration of digital content to a new platform,

Triad History Day, April 6

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Triad History Day
Saturday, April 6, 2019
10AM through 3PM
Greensboro History Museum

Join us for the first annual Triad History Day on Saturday, April 6, 2019, from 10AM until 3PM, at the Greensboro History Museum (130 Summit Ave, Greensboro, NC 27401).

Triad History Day is a one-day public festival focused on Triad history, both the stories and the people who preserve them. The event will feature a “history hall” with displays from history organizations, a series of lightning round talks focused on local history, as well as booths focused on oral history, preservation advice, and digitization of community materials.

History Hall:

Visitors can learn more about local archives, museums, libraries, and other historical organizations in the “history hall.” Participating institutions include representation from all over the Triad. See the complete participating institution list below.

A series of short talks about local Triad history will take place throughout the day, with speakers announced in late March.

Digitization Station:

Visitors with photographs or other records that help document Triad history can bring materials to the scanning station at Triad History Day. There, archivists will scan the materials for inclusion in UNC Greensboro’s community history portal. Visitors will also receive a copy of the scan.

Oral History Booth:

An oral history booth will allow participants the opportunity to record a 15-minute interview about an interesting story related to the Triad region. Interviews may involve two friends having a conversation, a family member interviewing a family member, or an individual being interviewed by a UNCG graduate students serving as an oral history facilitator. Interviews would be made available through the TriadHistory.org digital collection portal.

List of participating institutions:
  • African American Genealogical Society
  • Alamance Battlegound
  • American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame Foundation
  • Belk Library, Elon University
  • Blandwood/Preservation Greensboro
  • Bluford Library, NC A&T State University
  • Charlotte Hawkins Brown
  • Digital Collections, University Libraries, UNG Greensboro
  • Green Book Project, NC African American Heritage Commission
  • Greensboro History Museum
  • Greensboro Public Library
  • Guilford County Register of Deeds
  • High Point Museum
  • Hodges Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Greensboro
  • Holgate Library, Bennett College
  • Mendenhall Homeplace of Historic Jamestown Society
  • Moravian Archives
  • North Carolina Collection, Forsyth County Public Library
  • O'Kelly Library, Winston-Salem State University
  • People Not Property, UNC Greensboro
  • PRIDE of the Community, UNC Greensboro
  • Quaker Archives, Guilford College
  • Well Crafted, UNC Greensboro
  • ZSR Library, Wake Forest University
Facebook event details

Digital collections priorities, 2018-2019

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New projects


People Not Property: Slave Deeds of North Carolina
A collaborative endeavor between the UNCG University Libraries, North Carolina Division of Archives and Records, and North Carolina Registers of Deeds among others. Working as an addition to and evolution of the Digital Library on American Slavery, the project is leading towards a unique, centralized database of bills of sales indexing the names of enslaved people from across North Carolina.When complete, People Not Property will include robust metadata, high resolution images, and full-text searchable transcripts. We hope to open the project to states beyond North Carolina, creating a central location for accessing and researching slave deeds from across the Southern United States.

Photos and Concert Programs of the UNCG Cello Music Collection
The proposed project is to digitize photographs and concert programs from 4 of the Cello Music Collections: Luigi Silva, Elizabeth Cowling, Rudolf Matz, and Ennio Bolognini. The digitization of these materials would enhance the existing cello digital music collections. The concert programs would allow researchers to track the performance careers of these cellists, and the photographs would add a visually appealing component to the collection, which would make the collection more attractive to non-musicians.

Bryan School Annual Reports
Digitize the Bryan School's annual reports to the Provost, from 1969-70 to 2003-04. The Bryan School will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of its founding in the 2019-2020 academic year.

UNCG Graduate, Summer Session, and Extension Bulletins
Digitization of the bound graduate, summer session, and extension course bulletins. These will complement the undergraduate bulletins that were digitized several years ago, providing a complete picture of courses offered at UNCG since its founding. This will allow researchers to learn about these programs offered outside of the standard undergraduate curriculum.

Ongoing projects


Big changes

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Over the next year or so, we will be making big changes to the UNCG Digital Collections as we move to a new content management system and create a brand new user experience. More details will follow, but our hope is that the new website will make it easier for users to find information, and will provide better search and viewing options for our collections. The look and feel will be simplified and should be much more accessible on mobile devices. Our collections will also continue to be discoverable through WorldCat and the Digital Public Library of America.

There may be some impact and a few moments of confusion starting in a few months as we begin migrating our collections to the new platform. We will try to keep you updated and to minimize the disruptions. The main thing you may notice to begin with is that we will be adding very little new content for the next few months as we do not want to end up adding items in two different places.

Again, more details will follow. We're excited!