Tag Archives: Collections Management Branch

Holiday gifts for that Family Historian

Looking for that perfect holiday gift for the hard-to-find-gift-for relative?

Do you have a family historian on your gift list?

Have you considered a digital copy of microfilm?  The State Archives of North Carolina can digitize microfilm in our holdings and place those digital files on DVDs that can be used with most personal computers.

Tax records, county court minutes of the pleas and quarter sessions, record of wills, land grants, deed books, record of estates, and many more county records are available for digitization.  North Carolina newspapers are yet another possibility.  Any non-restricted microfilm can be scanned on request.

The basic cost of scanning a single reel is $15.00 and add $1.00 for the DVD(s).  There is also a small shipping and handling fee per order ($2.00).

Contact Chris Meekins [chris.meekins@ncdcr.gov or 919-807-7333] for more information on what holdings the Archives has for the various counties.

Order soon to receive your request in time for the holidays!


Cabarrus County Tax Records

The Imaging Unit of the State Archives of North Carolina has just completed imaging and creating microfilm for some Cabarrus County tax records.  The eighteen new reels of microfilm have been added to the security vault and a reading copy of the microfilm has been placed in the public search room for public use.

The material includes [reel number and years]:

C.016.70013-18 Tax Scrolls 2000
C.016.70019 Tax Scrolls 1925
C.016.70020-21 Tax Scrolls 1930
C.016.70022-23 Tax Scrolls 1940
C.016.70024 Tax Scrolls 1950
C.016.70025-30 Tax Scrolls 1990
The Imaging Unit is in the middle of a small project for tax records.  As we complete more imaging projects, we will post the completed projects information.  We in the Imaging Unit hope that you the researcher will find these projects useful.

To use microfilm please come to the main registration desk at the State Archives.  Once registered, a Reference Archivist can assist you in locating and using microfilm. To order duplicate reels of microfilm in Diazo, Silver Halide, or digital format contact Chris Meekins at chris.meekins@ncdcr.gov.

Digital Duplication of Microfilm: Improving Access to the State Archives’ Collections

As part of our ongoing goal of developing new tools to improve access to the State Archives’ collections, the Imaging Unit of the State Archives is excited to offer a new service in the duplication of microfilm.   In addition to the traditional Diazo and Silver Halide duplication services the Imaging Unit can now offer a digital copy of microfilm.

We have been testing this new service for a while – making sure we can offer a quality product in a timely manner.  The results are in and we are ready to feature that service as a duplication option.

Imagine the viewing of microfilmed county or state agency records made as easy as slipping a DVD into your computer and clicking on an image.  No need to track down a microfilm reader or reader printer.  No need to get dressed to go out in public.  All you need to do is insert the DVD into your computer, open the DVD folder and click on the image.  From the comfort of your home office, with all your working files near at hand, you can view digital duplicates of original records.

Think how easy it will be to copy and attach evidence pages to your research work – or how easy it will be to share that research and evidence.  Do you having trouble reading the small lettering when using a microfilm reader? Digital duplication makes it easier to expand the image to a size that you can easily read.  Digital duplication offers new solutions for researching and for sharing your findings.

You may order digital copies of microfilm while visiting the Archives by asking for the service at the main reference desk.  You may also order digital copies by contacting Chris Meekins, Imaging Unit Head, at either chris.meekins@ncdcr.gov or by phone at 919.807.7333.  You may also contact Chris for lists of microfilm in the holdings of the State Archives of North Carolina. [Please note that there is no single listing of the microfilm holdings in the Archives.

When contacting the Chris Meekins requesting microfilm listings please have an area of research in mind – for example, a listing of county records for Gates County; a list of newspapers for Wake County.  There are 100 active and 5 defunct counties that have microfilm copies of records. See http://archives.ncdcr.gov/Portals/26/PDF/guides/CO_GUIDE.PDF for holdings of county records on microfilm.

The new service is offered at the rate of $15.00 per reel of microfilm scanned.  There is also a $1.00 DVD fee.  If you are able to pick up the digital duplication from the State Archives your total fee would be the $16.00 (scan and DVD).  The Imaging Unit can also mail the digital copy to you for an additional $2.00 for shipping and handling per order.

The standard digital service is offered at 300 DPI in a JPEG format.  If you have other format needs (TIF  for example) contact Chris.  Formats other than JPEG may require additional DVD fees.

We look forward to completing your requests for digital copies.

For duplication costs of various formats please see our information located here:


See the section for microfilm for the Imaging Unit services.

Please note: Patron may be charged for Diazo duplicate reel if there is not a reading copy of microfilm to use for the digitization duplication.

Preservation Matting and Framing

[This blog post was written by Jennifer Blomberg, Head of the Collections Management Branch.]

The Collections Management Branch has been busy preparing State Archives materials to go on display in the Treasures of Carolina: Stories from the State Archives of North Carolina exhibit opening at the Museum of History. Displaying original objects can be very challenging and can even compromise preservation efforts. To minimize the risk and damage of exhibiting our material, we have taken a lot of preservation actions. Some of these include carefully selecting stable original objects, using facsimiles, rotating sensitive and fragile materials, limiting length of the exhibit, having low light levels in the gallery, and using preservation matting and framing.

Long term display of original materials is not recommended, but when displaying an original object is desired, the object needs to be protected from light, air, and touching. Below are some tips and guidelines on preservation matting and framing of original materials.

Preservation Matting and Framing

Preservation matting and framing are the methods and special framing materials used to limit risks to objects on display. The key to preservation matting and framing is using conservation quality materials that are chemically stable.

  • The matboard for the window and the back-mat needs to be made of 100% cotton rag, lignin-free wood pulp stock, and pH-neutral or slightly alkaline.
  • UV-filtering glazing used to help mitigate the irreversible damage from light. Glazing should never come in contact with the object and acrylic glazing should not be used with friable media.
  • Use caution when using wood frames. If using a wood frame, the interior of the frame should be lined with a barrier film to prevent acids in the wood from migrating to the matboard and object.
  • Make sure the mat package is firmly secured in the frame using pins or brads, not tape. Ensure that the frame package is constructed in such a way as to minimize warping, bowing, and bending.

Preferred Display Areas and Storage

  • Always display and store objects out of direct sunlight
  • Do not display objects near fireplaces, radiators, windows, and air vents
  • Display originals on interior walls
  • Do not store objects in basements, attics, or areas prone to environmental extremes or with high risk of water leaks or flooding

Conservation quality matboard package

Conservation quality matboard package

UV filtering acrylic

UV filtering acrylic

Always contact a professional framer, collections specialist, or conservator if you are considering displaying your original materials. Please feel free to contact Jennifer Blomberg, Head of Collections Management Branch if you have questions on preservation and how to protect and safeguard your collections.

Initial Steps Before Recovery of Wet Records

[This blog post was written by Jennifer Blomberg, head of the Collection Management Branch.]

When records have been damaged by water, it is very important to begin the recovery process as soon as possible. However, do not go in and start pulling records. Below are some initial steps that need to be taken prior to initialize the recovery of wet records.


Human Safety Is Always the Highest Priority

Do not enter the affected area or building until it has been determined that it is safe to do so. In a water emergency, potential dangers to people include electrical shock and exposure to sewage, chemicals and mold.



If confidential records have been damaged, recovery will need to take place under proper security conditions.

  • If the water source is not determined, assume the water is contaminated and protective clothing must be worn. If sewage or other dangerous substances contaminate the water, enlist professional assistance.
  • Do not enter an area with standing water until the electricity has been turned off.

Once safe access is available, assessing and stabilizing the area immediately is necessary. The greatest damage to records happen during the first 8 hours.  Within 48 hours, paper will begin to breakdown and to show initial stages of mold. Photographic and magnetic/electronic media will breakdown sooner.


If recovery is beyond your capability to handle due to severity, size, staffing, and/ or resources, contact vendors and specialists immediately.

Quantities too large to stabilize within the first 48 hours should be frozen either for defrosting and air drying at a later date, or for referral to a commercial drying vendor or preservation professional.


Inventory and Document

Documentation of every step of the recovery process needs to be done. Be sure to keep a complete inventory of all records that are moved. All records should be eventually removed from the damaged area, even if the records are not wet. They have been in an area that once did, or may still have high humidity level which can promote mold growth.

The inventory needs to include: type of record, record description, record format, original location, extent of damage, new recovery location, and any other tracking/ recovery identification.

Initial Response Flow Chart - click on the image to see a larger version.

Initial response flow chart – click on the image to see a larger version.

For more information on disaster mitigation, preparation and recovery, please feel free to contact Jennifer Blomberg, Head of Collections Management Branch at the State Archives of North Carolina at (919) 807-7308 or at jennifer.blomberg@ncdcr.gov.

Webinar: Digital Preservation for Individuals and Small Groups

[This blog announcement was written by Jennifer Blomberg, head of the Collection Management Branch.]

Digital Preservation for Individuals and Small Groups Webinar Viewing is TODAY!

Please join the Government and Heritage Library and State Archives today for the online viewing of Digital Preservation for Individuals and Small Groups led by the Library of Congress’s Mike Ashenfelder. This webinar will be a great introduction for individuals and representatives from small organizations who have interest in preserving their own digital photos, documents, recordings, videos, and other digital files.

The webinar will cover:

  • the nature of the digital-preservation challenge
  • simple, practical tips to describe and save digital files
  • tools that can be used

Location, Date & Time

 Archives & History–Library building

109 E. Jones St., Raleigh NC


April 30, 2015

 Room 208  2-3 pm


Webinar Description

As technology changes, the greatest threat to preserving digital files is obsolescence. Files may get stuck on obsolete media or in some form that may become unusable in time. If you don’t actively care for your digital possessions you may lose access to them.

This webinar can help increase your understanding of what it takes to preserve commonly used digital files such photos, recordings, videos and documents. Learn about the nature of the digital-preservation challenge and hear about some simple, practical tips and tools to help you preserve your digital stuff.


Mike Ashenfelder, Digital Preservation Project Coordinator, has worked at the Library of Congress since 2003 in the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program. He writes about personal digital archiving, leaders in digital preservation and issues and new developments in digital preservation. He also produces public information videos and podcasts. Before joining the Library of Congress, he worked for a decade in the Bay Area as a technical writer.


Historic Paper Repair

[This blog post was written by Emily Rainwater, Conservator for the State Archives of North Carolina.]

How would you fix a torn piece of paper without tape? One way might be to take another, smaller piece of paper and glue it on top of the tear. This actually forms the basis of modern conservation repair work, though Conservators take great care when choosing both the paper and adhesive. The repair paper is usually an extremely thin tissue with long fibers and excellent aging properties, while the adhesive will be non-staining and easily reversible even with age.


Historic paper repair on MC.150.1775m, c. 2

Historic paper repair on MC.150.1775m, c. 2


Another way would be to sew the tear back together. This is seen more commonly with parchment as it tends to be sturdier and less likely to tear further from the stitches. However, if the paper is good quality and in good condition, it can be sewn as well, as seen in this example from the Northampton County Apprentice Bonds.


Northampton County Apprentice Bonds and Records, 1797-1888, 071.101.2

Northampton County Apprentice Bonds and Records, 1797-1888, 071.101.2 (Front)

Northampton County Apprentice Bonds and Records, 1797-1888, 071.101.2

Northampton County Apprentice Bonds and Records, 1797-1888, 071.101.2 (Back)

If a historic repair is still working and functioning properly, I will frequently leave it intact. However, if it is damaging the paper, either because it has caused a new breaking point or was done using harmful materials, I may remove it and replace it with a more conservationally sound repair. In the case of this Apprentice Bond, both the paper and repair were in good condition, so the sewing was left intact.