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What is large-scale digitization?
What is the Long Civil Rights Movement?
Importance to North Carolina Heritage
Selecting the Topic
Intended audiences
Related projects

What is large-scale digitization?

Large-scale digitization is an exciting new access model for archives, offering an alternative to the traditional approach to archival digitization characterized by the painstaking hand selection of exceptional documents, manually enhanced descriptive metadata, and presentation through unique portals. In contrast to the traditional model, large-scale digitization integrates digitization into the archival enterprise and streamlines digitization workflows through the ongoing, day-to-day work of staff. No additional metadata is created for digitized items; instead, collection-level and container-level metadata is generated automatically from the finding aids. No special access portals are created; instead, digitized collection materials are made accessible through the collection finding aid, which provides context for the documents. Instead of hand-selecting documents from disparate collections and presenting the items in an exhibit-like online display, collections are digitized in their entirety — every page in every folder. In this way, the context of the original collection is not lost, and online delivery mirrors the experience of conducting research in the reading room.

"By organizing digitized objects by archival collection, rather than by themes and across collections, [large-scale digitization] maintains an individual object’s context within its archival context and collection’s arrangement and description. It also redirects the work of selection from curating items to entire series or collections. Placing access at the forefront, it arguably closes the distance between researchers and reading rooms by bringing more materials to where the researchers already are, online." *

* Dietz, Brian & Jason Ronallo (2011). "Automating a Digital Special Collections Workflow Through Iterative Development." Association of College & Research Libraries annual conference. April 2 2011, Philadelphia, PA.

What is the Long Civil Rights Movement?

The term "Long Civil Rights Movement" (LCRM) was coined by historian Jacquelyn Dowd Hall in a groundbreaking 2005 article,* in which she recast the narrative of the civil rights movement—commonly acknowledged as the period between the Brown v. Board of Education U.S. Supreme Court decision of 1954 and The Voting Rights Act of 1965—and extended the classical chronology of the period at both ends. The new narrative also broadened and deepened the classical storyline—a linear progression that led to the end of racial segregation in schools and public accommodations, and to the end of racial discrimination at the ballot box—to include the struggles against economic, social, and environmental injustice that continue even today. In the LCRM, the cast of well-known heroes and villains swells and no longer excludes the grassroots players, such as the labor unions and community organizers, or the LCRM's opponents in the emerging New Right.

* Hall, Jacqueline Dowd (2005). "The Long Civil Rights Movement and the Political Uses of the Past." The Journal of American History. 91(4).

Importance to North Carolina Heritage

The Long Civil Rights Movement (LCRM) is at the heart of North Carolina’s history in the twentieth century, and its study informs (and will continue to inform) the ways in which North Carolinians understand and respond to the challenges and opportunities facing the state and its people. North Carolina’s LCRM found its roots in both rural and urban communities across the state, and in organizations and institutions, particularly the historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Its cast was drawn from the Piedmont’s tobacco and textile labor unions, from African American business owners and civic leaders of Durham, African American churches, and from the state’s universities’ presidents, chancellors, faculty, students, black student alliances and movements, and intercollegiate sports.

The labor unions fought the paternalism of the state’s leading industries. The predominantly white universities eventually yielded, if reluctantly, to legal pressures and mandates, opening their doors wider to the nonwhite populace; and subsequently fostered environments where everyone on campus―from students and faculty to housekeeping staff and food workers―could demand justice with some success. The HBCUs, the African American churches and businesses, the rural extension programs, and the community organizers sought improved social conditions, justice, and empowerment.

Progress, and even the suggestion of needed change, stirred opposition; but in North Carolina the opposition did not come in the guise of ranting, radical segregationists. Rather, the emerging New Right in North Carolina retained a veneer of civility, even as its congressmen, local politicians, businessmen, and community leaders fought mightily to retain the status quo and power in the state’s changing political and cultural landscapes.

Selecting the topic

The CCC project planning group members have extensive experience in researcher services, are well acquainted with research trends, and in frequent communication with scholars and with educators. As the group discussed which topics to suggest, two became clear: the African American experience and race relations in twentieth-century North Carolina. All four university libraries receive numerous requests from researchers for information and resources on these two topics. And a broad and sustained interest in these topics in the context of southern history was echoed by the more than forty scholars who participated in a UNC Chapel Hill grant project, Extending the Reach of Southern Sources: Proceeding to Large-Scale Digitization of Manuscript Collections (2007–2009).

In 2010, the project planning group conducted a focus group and personal interviews with history faculty from the four TRLN universities. The history faculty concurred with the Extending the Reach participants, and then sharpened and reshaped the project topic to focus on the struggles for and against change during the LCRM in North Carolina.

Intended audiences

The CCC project's primary audiences are scholars (predominantly historians and others in the humanities and social sciences), educators, students, public historians, and museum professionals. Once the CCC project's content is available on the open web, we hope the audience will naturally grow to include documentary filmmakers, journalists, publishers, genealogists, community activists, and other interested parties everywhere.

The CCC project will dramatically amplify the availability of the manuscript collections slated for digitization, enabling researchers to access materials that were previously accessible only physically in the four university libraries. In this way, the project encourages collaborative scholarship worldwide and will hopefully facilitate a significant increase in the number of comparative studies of the world's social movements.

We hope to see these materials used by scholars in research projects; by faculty and staff in education departments and associated programs to build lesson plans, learning objects, and digital textbooks for use in the classroom and in online courses; by teachers, particularly those in the North Carolina public schools, to access primary sources in the classroom that will provide texture and depth to the stories of the LCRM in North Carolina; by students in their research projects; and by public historians and museum professionals to interpret events, write histories on communities and organizations, develop tours of sites and museums, and enhance their organizations’ web presence.

Related Projects

  • Behind the Veil

    Launched by Duke University's Lyndhurst Center for Documentary Studies in 1990, the Behind the Veil oral history project at Duke University seeks to record and preserve the living memory of African American life during the age of legal segregation in the American South, from the 1890s to the 1950s. The project offers researchers 1,260 oral history interviews; an abundance of resources for understanding black self-images, racial pride and achievement during the long period of American apartheid. This documentary record reflects not only the terror, hardship and frustration of this period of second-class citizenship, but also the individual and collective struggles of black southerners to survive and prosper in spite of the policies of white supremacy. By collecting narratives that recount the everyday experiences of African Americans from various locations and backgrounds, the collection provides rich documentary evidence of the diversity of black life during the Jim Crow era.

    The project began in the late 1980s when several historians connected to the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University met to address their shared concern about the relatively static historical interpretation of the age of segregation. The Behind the Veil project received major funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Ford Foundation and the Lyndhurst Foundation.

  • From Investigation to Implementation: Building a Program for the Large-Scale Digitization of Manuscripts

    From 2007 to 2009, two concurrent projects at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries explored different yet complimentary elements involved in the building of a large-scale archival digitization program at the Southern Historical Collection. These projects were Extending the Reach of Southern Sources: Proceeding to Large-Scale Digitization of Manuscript Collections (funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation) and the Thomas E. Watson Papers Digitization Project (funded by the Watson-Brown Foundation). The documentation produced by the two grants on large-scale digitization is detailed extensively on the project website.

    Information gathered during the Extending the Reach project includes the legal considerations of large-scale digitization, selection of materials for large-scale digitization, and sustainability of large-scale digitization. The full report of the Extending the Reach grant can be downloaded as a PDF here. Research resulting from the Thomas E. Watson Papers Digitization Project discuss considerations in digitization of and access to materials including reprocessing, conservation, metadata, digitization, and access.

  • Green and Growing

    This digital collection at North Carolina State University Libraries presents thousands of images and textual materials that document the history of 4-H and Home Demonstration in North Carolina from the 1900s to the 1970s. Users will also find a timeline of events, a collection of original historical essays, an annotated bibliography, and guides for primary resources held by the North Carolina State University Special Collections Research Center.

    Drawing upon the rich historical records found in the University Archives, the collection provides valuable information about women, children, race relations, education, agriculture, and rural life in North Carolina during the twentieth century.

  • HBCU Library Alliance: a Digital Collection Celebrating the Founding of the Historically Black College and University

    "A Digital Collection Celebrating the Founding of the Historically Black College and University" is a collection of primary resources from HBCU libraries and archives. It includes several thousand scanned pages and represents HBCU libraries first collaborative effort to make a historic collection digitially available. Collections are contributed from member libraries of the Historically Black College and University Library Alliance.

    North Carolina Central University participated in the HBCU Library Alliance project, which was generously funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and led by Cornell University Library working with the HBCU Library Alliance.

  • Publishing the Long Civil Rights Movement

    This project (2009-2011) sought to inspire scholarly collaboration and develop new ways of creating and sharing scholarship on the civil rights movement via an innovative publishing platform developed by the project. The invited readers of history to experience and interact with books and articles on the civil rights movement in vibrant new ways. While reading, users could comment within the online text, post links to related resources, and exchange ideas with other readers. The project tested the capacity of a collection of related scholarly publications to become a dynamic, evolving interface to a growing body of knowledge.

    Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, this project is a collaboration between the University of North Carolina Press, the UNC-Chapel Hill University Library, the Center for Civil Rights of the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law, and the Southern Oral History Program at the UNC-Chapel Hill Center for the Study of the American South.

    The publishing pilot can be viewed here.

  • The Southern Oral History Program, Long Civil Rights Movement Initiative

    Since 1973, the Southern Oral History Program (SOHP) has worked to preserve the voices of the southern past. UNC students and faculty have interviewed more than 4,000 men and women—from mill workers to civil rights leaders to future presidents of the United States. Freely available at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s renowned Southern Historical Collection and increasingly available digitally online, these interviews capture the vivid personalities, poignant personal stories, and behind-the-scenes decision-making that bring history to life.

    The Long Civil Rights Movement initiative is a project intended to better understand how the South has been shaped by the black and women’s liberation movements, the Vietnam War, natural disasters, and conservative politics. The SOHP's team of researchers has conducted oral history interviews in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Kentucky. Their focus is on the continued resonance of the civil rights movement after the 1960s. They have conducted over 350 interviews, many of which are available online. Take a look.


Triangle Research Libraries Network  CB#3940 Wilson Library, Suite 712 Chapel Hill, NC 27514-8890
Phone: (919) 962-8022  Fax: (919) 962-4452

Page maintained by Patti Pittman
last updated 8/30/2013