Since 2005, the North Carolina State Archives has participated in the North Carolina Encoded Archival Context (NCEAC) project spearheaded by NCECHO (North Carolina Exploring Cultural Heritage Online). The purpose of the project is to “create a central location for information related to the creators of records housed by North Carolina’s cultural heritage institutions” via NCBHIO (North Carolina Biographical & Historical Information Online).
Through web forms found on the NCBHIO web pages, archives and library staff describe the creators of records within their institutions. These preliminary NCEAC records then go through an editorial process and, once approved, are posted in alphabetical order. One of the chief values of the NCBHIO project is that it allows researchers to find records and collections without knowing beforehand which institutions hold those records. So, for example, someone interested in researching Terry Sanford can click on his NCBHIO record, see a brief biographical sketch of his life, and then scroll through a list of “suggestions for further research,” which includes links to the finding aids for Terry Sanford’s collections at Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the North Carolina State Archives.
NCBHIO records also provide information about relationships between various people and/or institutions. Let’s say that you were interested in home demonstration in the 1930s, but all you knew was the name of Ruth Current who, to quote her NCBHIO record, “directed home demonstration work in North Carolina for over twenty years.” You could go to her NCBHIO record and see in the “Associations” section that Ruth Current was connected with Jane Simpson McKimmon and several institutions, including North Carolina State University’s Department of Family and Consumer Sciences.
NCBHIO is an ongoing project, therefore not all of the records creators from any of the contributing libraries and archives are currently found in the list. But we encourage researchers to keep an eye on this up and coming resource.