A grant from the State Library of North Carolina will aid in improving accessibility to historical archives housed in an East Carolina University library.
The State Library of North Carolina, a Division of the Department of Cultural Resources, awarded a nine-month, $59,200 grant to the Special Collections Division at J.Y. Joyner Library to process the History Collections at the William E. Laupus Health Sciences Library.
The grant is part of the Library Services and Technology Act and is made possible by LSTA grant funding from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal grant-making agency. With matching funds from Joyner Library, the total project exceeds $66,900.
“The purpose of this project is to improve accessibility of the history collections at the Laupus Health Sciences Library,” said Janice S. Lewis, director of Joyner Library. “The Laupus history collections, which consist of over 6,200 monographs, 200 artifacts and a growing number of oral history materials, document the history of medicine and health care in eastern North Carolina.”
The history collections include two distinct categories of material: Laupus Library Archival Collection and the Country Doctor Museum Archival Collection. The Country Doctor Museum archival collection is less than half of the museum’s special collections – the majority of the artifacts are stored at the museum in Bailey, North Carolina.
“The primary focus of this project will be to convert collection guides from Word documents and Excel spreadsheets into encoded archival description finding aids, thus making all collection guides and inventories available online,” said Jennifer Joyner, digital archivist and grant principal investigator. “Currently, there are no online finding aids directing users to these rich and unique collections.”
“The lack of online access to the history collections is in stark contrast to the online accessibility of the manuscript materials at Joyner Library’s special collections division,” Lewis added. “During the 2013-14 year, the finding aids in our East Carolina Manuscript Collection and University Archives received 135,205 page views and were searched over 30,122 times.”
The final step of the project will be to digitize key materials from the Laupus history collections that are representative of the holdings. The digitized materials will become a part of ECU Digital Collections, and item level metadata will be shared with the Digital Public Library of America. The creation of multiple access points will improve the accessibility and visibility of these valuable historical collections.
For more information, contact Dawn Wainwright at (252) 328-4090.