UNC, state library link to National Digital Library

Oct. 26, 2013 @ 05:22 PM

Treasures from libraries and archives across North Carolina will soon be at the fingertips of researchers worldwide.

The North Carolina Digital Heritage Center (NCDHC) in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Wilson Library will be the state hub and conduit to the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) -- an organization that provides a single point of access for millions of books, photographs, documents, sound recordings and moving images from some of the leading libraries and archives across the country.

Through a partnership announced Thursday, the center will compile and provide information about North Carolina’s digital collections to the DPLA.

The Digital Public Library of America (http://dp.la) debuted in April.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for North Carolina to demonstrate the wealth of culturally important materials in our state’s libraries and to give them the broadest possible reach,” said Nick Graham, project coordinator for the NCDHC.

The center offers digitization and digital publishing services to North Carolina’s libraries, archives, museums and historical societies. Since its founding in 2010, it has digitized more than two million pages from the collections of the UNC Libraries and the Center’s partners. The collections are online at http://digitalnc.org.

Some of the most frequently viewed items include digitized yearbooks from North Carolina colleges, universities and high schools; student and community newspapers from schools and towns around the state; and growing collections of postcards, photographs, scrapbooks and clippings.

"Rich, unique treasures are found in special collections across North Carolina,” said Cal Shepard, state librarian. “We are excited the Digital Heritage Center is facilitating their inclusion in DPLA to provide broader access to them for researchers everywhere."

Although the NCDHC specializes in digitizing and publishing items from North Carolina’s history, the scope of the DPLA partnership will be much broader. The only requirement is that materials be held by a library, archive or other cultural heritage institution in North Carolina.

The State Library of North Carolina and State Archives of North Carolina will be among the institutions that will submit items to the DPLA via the new arrangement. Others include the UNC campuses at Chapel Hill, Charlotte, East Carolina, Greensboro, North Carolina A&T, Pembroke and Western Carolina, as well as independent institutions including Duke, Elon and Wake Forest universities.

The NCDHC has already sent the first load of records to DPLA and will add new records every month.

The NCDHC is supported by the State Library of North Carolina with funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and by the UNC-Chapel Hill University Library.