Tag Archives: Digital Services Section

Digital Services Section New Staff Introduction Series

Since the start of 2017, 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 Sara Pezzoni: Metadata and Digitization Assistant in the Digital Services Section

My first few weeks here have been a whirlwind of excitement, and I’m so happy to be here! I am a homegrown Tar Heel, grew up in Raleigh, and completed my BA in Communication Studies with a minor in English from UNCW. I also received my MLIS from Florida State University, which I completed through online courses. I look forward to working in Digital Services and undertaking associated challenges brought about by issues surrounding information lifecycle management, long-term retrievability, and access.

Before coming to the State Archives, I would say I’ve kept fairly busy in searching for my “place.” Like most in this field, I feel as though I have had many different past lives before focusing on archival work—I guess that’s what happens when you have a wide variety of interests pulling you in several different directions. I first fell in love with photography as a teenager, and decided I would give news photography a try at my college newspaper, which later led me into a photographer position post-college at a newspaper in Kinston, NC. I fell in love with telling stories through the art of photography, but never truly felt like it was the career path for me. Straight out of college, I side-tracked into a part-time position at a small publishing company due to my minor in English and interests in editing/writing—also not quite the desired career path for me. I then interned for a few months at NCMA in the Education Department to see if working with art as opposed to creating art was a better option for me. This experience led me to explore other opportunities in the world of art and photography, and I began two simultaneous internships at the National Archives II in College Park, MD and Magnum Photos in NYC—all while working on my MLIS. I might not have had much time to sleep, but that didn’t seem to matter at the time.

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Making Digital Memories Persist

[This blog post was written by Kelly Eubank, head of the Digital Services Section.]

A whole generation has grown up with their lives recorded in digital form–photos, videos, class assignments, social interactions. For the digital files that are important to last, the creator must actively manage them. Digital files are vulnerable to loss from either human error (failure to be vigilant), natural disaster (hard drive failure or bitrot) or just plain neglect—unstable file formats, poor file naming, or failure to have multiple copies or move a file from a device before replacing that device.

People get new phones and new devices on average every two years. In order for digital files to persist, people can take some common, relatively painless actions. Firstly, because machines or devices may break, you should always keep multiple copies of files on different devices. If your phone has an option to back up your files to a cloud provider e.g. icloud or GoogleDrive, you should opt to do that. Additionally, we suggest you back up your device to a computer. As you run out of space on your device, you can transfer those to another machine that to delete them from your device. Second, not all file formats are equal. In the world of digital persistence, some file formats are more universally supported and can be read by different types of machines while others are closed and require a specific piece of hard ware and software to read them. For a list of recommended file formats, please consult our guidance document, “File Format Guidelines for Management and Long-Term Retention of Electronic Records.”

Last, when a machine or device saves a file, it typically either assigns it a name or will ask you to name it. If you don’t consciously name it something that will make sense to you now and in the future, you risk losing important files because you cannot remember the name of the file. This is particularly true with digital photos which inherit the name assigned to it by the SIM card. By renaming the file and organizing it according to function or event, you will better be able to discover it in the future. For more guidance on File Naming, please consult our guidance materials, “Best Practices for File Naming” or video tutorials on File Naming at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hi_A4Ywn4VU&feature=youtu.be.

For more tips and tricks, we invite you to take a look at our Digital Preservation Best Practices and Guidelines website at: http://www.digitalpreservation.ncdcr.gov/

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.

World War I Soldiers’ Correspondence Added to North Carolina Digital Collections

In our ongoing project to showcase the involvement of North Carolinians in World War I, we have been uploading lots of new items to our North Carolina Digital Collections. The most recent batch of additions includes images and transcripts of correspondence from private collections donated to the State Archives and held in our Military Collection. The letters, written by soldiers to their loved ones, recount daily life at training camps, admit to bouts of homesickness and “the blues,” and tell the stories of ordinary soldiers on the Western Front. Below are brief descriptions of the four soldiers whose letters are featured in this release.

Sgt. Wiley P. Killette

Sgt. Wiley P. Killette (Call no.: MilColl.WWI.PC.62)

Sgt. Wiley Pearson Killette (1894-1951), of Wilson (Wilson County), North Carolina, served in Company H, 322nd Infantry, 81st “Wildcat” Division of the U.S. Army during World War I. He was the son of Leanne Elizabeth (Pearson) and Edwin Franklin Killette, Sr., who was the mayor of Wilson at the time. While serving in the United States, Wiley was stationed at Camp Jackson, near Columbia, S.C, Camp Sevier, near Greenville, S.C., and finally Camp Upton, N.Y. He was sent to Europe in July 1918, and the Verdun Front in eastern France in October 1918. Killette was wounded in battle on November 9, 1918 and hospitalized in Bordeaux, France, but was officially considered missing-in-action until January 1919. In February 1919, he was hospitalized in Chaumont, Haute Marne, France due to a chronic injury unrelated to the war. He returned to the U.S. in April 1919, where he was stationed at Camp Merritt, N.J. until being out-processed at Camp Lee, VA, in May 1919.

Edwin Franklin Killette, Jr., (1897-1941) of Wilson (Wilson County), N.C., served as a landsman electrician general in the U.S. Navy during World War I, and was based at Hampton Roads and Norfolk, Virginia. He was the younger brother of Wiley P. Killette, and the son of Leanne Elizabeth (Pearson) and Edwin Franklin Killette, Sr.

Pvt. George T. Skinner

Pvt. George T. Skinner (Call no.: MilColl.WWI.PC.60)

Pvt. George Travis Skinner (1890-19??) of Kinston (Lenoir County), North Carolina, served in Company B, 105th Military Police Battalion, 30th “Old Hickory” Infantry Division of the Army National Guard during World War I. For training, he was stationed at Camp Sevier near Greenville, S.C., then Camp Mills in New York. He was deployed to Europe in May 1918 where he was stationed in northern and western France behind Allied lines. In his letters to his family, Skinner is steadfastly optimistic about the end of the War, but also philosophical about the War’s short and long-term effects. He fondly describes the French countryside and food, and his opportunities to visit Paris and Versailles. But in other letters, he recounts the complete devastation in war zones and the desperation expressed by German POWs. He returned to the United States in early 1919.


Cpl. Earlie W. Smith (Call no.: MilColl.WWI.PC.51)

Cpl. Earlie Wright Smith (1892-1974) of West Durham (Durham County), North Carolina, served in the Headquarters Company, 317th Field Artillery Regiment, 81st “Wildcat” Division of the U.S. Army during World War I. While stationed at Camp Jackson, near Columbia, S.C., and later Camp Mills in New York, he wrote letters to his sweetheart, Adna Byrd (1893-1990) of Broadway, N.C., whom he later married. Smith was promoted to the position of Telephone Corporal in July 1918, and served in north-eastern France from August 1918 to May 1919. For more information on what exactly a Telephone Corporal is consult the Drill Regulations for Field Artillery, 1911, and the Field Artilleryman’s Guide, 1918.

The finding aid for the Military Collection, World War I Papers, Private Collections can be found here. In addition to correspondence, the physical collections include photographs, postcards, souvenir booklets, telegrams, notebooks, and newspaper clippings. Additional letters from soldiers and volunteers who served in the United States and Europe during World War I will be released in the coming weeks.

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 Kevin Klesta: Metadata Archivist in the Digital Services Section

My interest in archival work began shortly after graduating from Cleveland State University with a BA in History.  Realizing teaching wasn’t for me, I volunteered at the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland and learned the basics of processing collections.  It was around this time, I learned a BA in History wouldn’t get me my then dream job at the National Archives and Records Administration (I didn’t have much of an imagination). So, I continued my education at The University of Akron located in what was once the “Rubber Capital of the World.”

While acquiring an MA in History, I started working as a student assistant with The University of Akron’s Archival Services, buried in the depths of an old department store.  I became acquainted with the “rubber” barons who put Akron on the map: the Seiberlings of Goodyear, the Firestones of Firestone and the O’Neils of General Tire.

After graduating, I was hired on to manage the World War II collections involving the Martin B-26 Marauder (a medium bomber used solely for WWII) and various grant-funded projects.  The most enjoyable aspect of this position was working with World War II veterans and their families.  Assisting in the preservation of their history while listening to their stories was both satisfying and gratifying.  As wonderful as the job was, it was only part-time and temporary.  I looked for a full-time position and found one at the State Archives of North Carolina.

I started here in the beginning of February as the Metadata Archivist.  It was a bewildering first few weeks not so much from learning the ropes, but from the ice storm, snow storm, power failure, and below-freezing temperatures that had me thinking I had driven to Raleigh, North Dakota by mistake.  My duties as Metadata Archivist include digitizing materials, creating metadata, and increasing public access to government records.  I’ve since been involved with several ongoing projects including the digitization of historical Governors’ correspondence and creating access to the North Carolina Supreme Court cases (1967-1981) through our MARS database.  I’m also starting work on State Senate audio, helping to preserve and create access to more sessions online.

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. The new staff mini-series starts today!

Introducing Kat Milbrodt: Metadata and Digitization Assistant in the Digital Services Section

I was very excited to start work here at the State Archives in mid-March. Spring is a time for new beginnings and for renewal, for housecleaning and for clouds of pine pollen (a new experience for this Ohio native), for beautiful flowers and for dramatically changing weather conditions. For me, working with archives is like perpetual springtime: I enjoy engaging with new people and new collections, reflecting on my past work experiences, and applying the skills I already possess to new tasks; no matter how many items I digitize and how much metadata I collect, there is always much more to do; and in spite of my cultivated competencies, there are always evolving methodologies and technologies that must be learned.

Before coming to the State Archives, I have had nearly eight years of experience working with the digitization, preservation, conservation, and description of library and archival collections. Most recently I worked as a Digitization and Preservation Assistant at the Niels Bohr Library and Archives (NBLA) at the American Institute of Physics in College Park, Maryland. The NBLA has specialized text, image, and archival collections that focus on physics, physicists, and the history of physics. It was gratifying working with the relatively small collections at NBLA where I could immediately see the results of my efforts.

The bulk of my experience was gained working as a Digital Scanning Technician in the University Library System at the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I had the opportunity to work with an astonishing variety of library, special collections, and archival materials, and also to pursue independent research into digital color management and non-damaging scanning techniques for fragile items. Additionally, I was able to attend graduate classes in archives and records management at Pitt’s School of Information Sciences.

At the State Archives of NC I have jumped headlong into two digitization projects already underway: correspondence from the Governors’ Papers and World War I correspondence from the Military Collection. I’m eager to make the images and transcripts of these letters widely available to the public – as primary research sources, personal correspondence can provide an engaging inroad to learning about historical events, reveal insights into everyday cultural practices of bygone eras, and present intimate portraits of historical figures.

In addition to digitization and metadata activities, I will be writing occasional blog posts for History for All the People, and assisting with web edits on the State Archives of North Carolina website. I know I have a lot of interesting and challenging work ahead of me, and I feel right at home.

From Theory to Practice: A Summer Internship at the State Archives of North Carolina

[This blog post was written by Callie Davis, a summer intern from Meredith College.]

As a Public History minor at Meredith College, I decided to intern at the State Archives in the Digital Service Section. I wanted to learn more about how to apply public history outside of school, as well as learn more about the job duties of an archivist. I was assigned the task to start working on a science & technology digital collection using collections from the State Archives. I was very excited to begin work on this collection not only because of being a history major, but I am also getting a degree in the sciences field.

To start this project, I began researching public health, medicine and medical technology, aviation, and patents that were developed in North Carolina or by North Carolinians. I used these key subjects to look for items in the Manuscript and Archives References System (MARS) online catalog, the Guide to Private Manuscript Collections in the North Carolina State Archives, and other resources such as Private Collection or State Agency finding aids to find items that fit the scope of the science & technology digital collection. Once collections were identified and researched, I tagged each item that I found useful from the collections so it could be easily found and scanned later. I also created a spreadsheet that included detailed descriptions of each collection and items for future employees or volunteers working on the collection.

photograph is of William E. Thornton conducting research on the Challenger Space Shuttle

This photograph is of William E. Thornton conducting research on the Challenger space shuttle. During his time on the Challenger, he continued working on his studies of changes in the human body while in space. This image is from collection PC.2054.

I have complied various documents and photographs from the mid-1800s to the 1990s that range from photos of Carbine Williams with his M-1 Carbine, documentation on the North Carolina Hookworm campaign, patents of inventions dealing with radio, space equipment, farm machinery, equipment for textile mill, papers from the Bensen Aircraft’s gyro-glider, and William Thornton’s work with NASA. After finishing the research and tagging documents, I have been able to start the scanning process. The documents and pictures that will go in this collection must all be scanned. Information about items in this soon to be digital collection must also be written and put into the digital collections software to assist people who want to know more about the collection.

I have also had the opportunity to work on the 1901 Confederate Pension digital collection project. This semester, my honors thesis at Meredith College will be focusing on amputations during the American Civil War, and being able to assist with this side project has been fun since I enjoy learning more about the Civil War.

Being an intern at the archives has been one of the best opportunities and experiences of my college career. I have learned more about North Carolina history, which has complemented my passion in science and healthcare. I learned that you do not just have to be interested in public history to volunteer at the archives. I think it is important to be involved in your state’s history, and I have learned so much about North Carolina’s contributions through this volunteering experience.