NC ECHO Project Makes Local History Searchable, Accessible Online

[This blog post comes from a Dept. of Cultural Resources press release – you can find other news related to NC Cultural Resources here.]

Researchers and history buffs alike may now search and access local history collections across North Carolina with a single search box thanks to a collaborative project led by the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center, NC LIVE and the State Library of North Carolina.

NC ECHO, available at, has been updated in order to expand access to unique local heritage collections previously scattered across a multitude of websites and North Carolina institutions. NC ECHO enables users to search across thousands of digitized and “born-digital” historic materials, including a wide variety of books, photographs, maps, family histories, state documents, newspapers and other materials from cultural heritage institutions around North Carolina. The collections available through NC ECHO include a diverse array of materials by and about the people, places and history of North Carolina.

The previous NC ECHO program was managed by the State Library of North Carolina from 1999-2012, with the intent of identifying and digitizing local cultural heritage collections. The newly revived NC ECHO program continues with the same spirit, to build connections and improve access to these collections of historic materials.

Over the coming year, the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center will continue to work with cultural institutions across North Carolina to add new materials to this statewide search. “This project shows how libraries, archives, and museums are working together to share their historical photo and document collections with all North Carolinians,” said Cal Shepard, State Librarian of North Carolina. “The NC ECHO website will unlock unique and important historical materials by making them easy to find and use for everyday researchers.”

Staff at libraries across the state have eagerly awaited the launch of the new NC ECHO project because it will dramatically improve service to patrons researching local history. “By including content from over 100 different institutions across North Carolina, NC ECHO makes it easier than ever for students, scholars, and genealogists to find the materials they need,” said Nicholas Graham, Program Coordinator for the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center. “NC ECHO is the new first stop for anyone interested in North Carolina.”

To use NC ECHO, patrons can visit, and search based on historical interests, places, or people. All of the collections available through the NC ECHO search are freely available online to all users, regardless of their location or affiliation.

The State Library of North Carolina is a unit of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources. For more on North Carolina’s arts, history and culture, visit Cultural Resources online.