Digital Services Section New Staff Introduction Series

Since the start of 2015, several new staff members have joined the Digital Services Section. All of us will be making regular blog posts on History For All the People, so we thought it would be nice for each of us to introduce ourselves, describe our roles in DSS, and preview the projects we’re working on.

Introducing Olivia Carlisle: Digitization Archivist in the Digital Services Section

I started work in mid-January after moving up from Atlanta. I’m very excited to be working at the State Archives of North Carolina. While I’ve read dream jobs aren’t really a thing, getting my position at the Archives certainly feels like I have found mine. I have always enjoyed history, but also have a love of technology. I had no idea that you could turn those two things into a profession.

I have a B.A. from Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, Georgia, in Economics and Organizational Management (I know, right, where’d that come from?). Thinking about my future while at Agnes Scott, I was indecisive and I fell back on my first love, books. So after graduation, I attended the University of North Carolina at Greensboro to obtain a Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) degree. While attending UNCG, I was still unsure exactly what it was I wanted to do until I got a student position working on a grant in the Library’s Digital Projects department. I worked on a digitization grant project called “North Carolina Runaway Slave Advertisements” and I was hooked. It was everything I enjoyed: combining history with technology, learning new programs and hardware, all while getting to work with historical materials.

My first experience working in an archives was at the National Archives and Records Administration in Atlanta. For my internship there, I completed a comprehensive finding aid on privateering during the War of 1812 with an accompanying database of information from the records. There is nothing better than getting to read about the exploits of a vessel called the Saucy Jack while handling early 19th Century documents.

After I received my MLIS, I worked part-time at the Georgia State Archives on processing and digitization until I received a full-time grant position at Georgia State University. While at GSU, I worked on “Planning Atlanta—A New City in the Making, 1930s-1990s,” digitizing city planning publications and georeferencing city planning maps.

Some of the projects I am working on at the State Archives include finishing the digitization of the 1901 Confederate Pension Applications, research for GIS video that will be used for an exhibit, and digitizing materials for the Civil War 150 blog. Last month, for Women’s History month, I also digitized and wrote a blog entry about the articles of incorporation for women’s colleges in North Carolina. For professional development, I am currently pursuing my Digital Archives Specialist certificate from the Society of American Archivists, which I hope to finish by the end of this year.

So far, I have definitely felt that I have found my professional home.