Tag Archives: MARS

Dive into DOC

The Discover Online Catalog, or DOC, went online today, July 1, 2019. Some links to MARS will linger in old blog posts or within documents and PDFs available on our website, but we have updated website links and blog pages to point to the new catalog. If you have MARS bookmarked, those links will continue to work for a few days, but eventually our IT staff will completely remove online access to MARS.

Screenshot of the “Welcome to the Discover Online Catalog” page on the State Archives website

If you haven’t already visited the new catalog, here’s what you’ll find:

  • Welcome to the Discover Online Catalog – The homepage for the new catalog and the place where we will link to tutorials and other help documentation once its available.
  • Search DOC – The actual search page for DOC. See previous blog posts for some new features available through the updated catalog.
  • Online Catalog FAQ – Do you have questions about searching the catalog, what the advanced search options mean, how to move between levels, or what to do once you find a record you want to see? Visit the new online catalog’s Frequently Asked Questions page for more information. How do we have a Frequently Asked Questions page when the DOC just launched today? We based the questions on feedback we received from user testing with researchers and staff. As we receive more feedback now that the catalog is live, we’ll update the FAQ with more information.

Launching the catalog doesn’t mean we are done making changes. Staff at the State Archives, Outer Banks History Center, and Western Regional Archives are restructuring data and updating information to reflect the latest national standards. Materials that weren’t described in MARS are being added to DOC, and we’ve moved to a new stylesheet for our finding aids, which are now available through DOC as well as the Archives website. Keep an eye on this blog and our other social media for more updates and news as we continue to improve this resource.

Facets

The latest installment of learning how to use the new Discover Online Catalog (DOC) at the State Archives is all about facets. Selecting a facet or multiple facets at the beginning of your search can help you to narrow down your search in the catalog. Facets are used to identify types or groups of information and a great way to start and continue your search of the State Archives records. Facets include, but are not limited to:

  • Repository
  • Creator Type
  • Collection
  • Record Begin & End Dates

For example, under Repository you can refine your search by selecting the location where the record resides – for instance, if you know the record you are looking for is at Western Regional Archives, you may click on its link.

If you are searching for records produced within a certain date range, you can select those dates under the Record Begin Date and Record End Date facets.

Please let any of our reference archivists know if you have questions. As always, stay tuned for more information about using the DOC at the State Archives of North Carolina!

New Online Catalog Launches July 2019

screenshot of a search in the new online catalog for 'Wake County'

Screenshot of a search for “Wake County” in the Discover Online Catalog (DOC).

The online catalog MARS has had a lot of different looks since it was created in 1985. But whether it was online or only available on terminals in the Archives and Library building, the catalog’s functionality has remained pretty much unchanged since that initial launch. It’s been an invaluable tool for both staff and the public but doesn’t provide a lot of functionality that most people expect from an online tool in 2019.

That’s why we will be replacing MARS with something new in July 2019. The new system, which we’re calling the Discover Online Catalog or DOC, will give researchers a lot of searching options, while also being faster and more user-friendly than MARS. Over the next few weeks, we’ll provide a series of short blog posts from Archives staff giving you a preview of the new system. After DOC is launched, we’ll start creating online tutorials, a Frequently Asked Questions document, and a guide to help you learn more about how this new tool can help you find what you need in our collections.

Stay tuned!

Call Numbers for County Records at the State Archives

Carie Chesarino of the Records Description Unit (part of the Government Records Section) has written a post on our records management blog about how to search for county records by their call numbers in our online catalog, MARS.

The G.S. 132 Files

The County Records collection of the State Archives of North Carolina includes wills and estate files, tax scrolls, Superior Court judgment and minute dockets, and many more record series. In a previous blog post, I described one way to do a catalog search for archived county records. This post explains how to perform a call number search.

Begin at the State Archives’ public access catalog, MARS. If you have visited our catalog before, the page may default to the sort of search you last performed (Basic Search, Advanced Search, or Search by Call Number). Try selecting “Search by Call Number” in the blue box to the right of the screen:

select search by call number
For this example, select “Call Numbers starting” in the drop down box after “Search For:”

Call numbers starting

To retrieve search results for all the Alamance County records cataloged at the State Archives, enter CR.001. like in the image below and click “Search” :

Alamance Call Number search

Here are some…

View original post 141 more words

It is time to celebrate!

Example of a land grant envelope, “shuck”

Example of a land grant envelope, “shuck”

In the mid-1980s the State Archives of North Carolina started work on preserving, microfilming and indexing the North Carolina Land Grants. I have not been part of this project since the beginning, but for the past 6 years one of my jobs has been to index the microfilmed North Carolina Land Grants into our MARS database, I have now indexed 133 reels of microfilm which is 25,899 land grants and I am very happy to say that the project is now complete.

To give an idea as to the scope of this project there are over 200 fiberdex boxes consisting of 216,024 land grants which in turn became 611 reels of microfilm. North Carolina Land Grants span the years 1679-1959 and are arranged by county including the Tennessee Counties that used to be part of North Carolina. Prior to the indexing of these land grants, which consist of a warrant, plat and often a receipt, they would have to be taken out of their envelope “shuck,” flattened ,deacidified, and repaired in the conservation lab. From there they would be microfilmed and then finally indexing could take place. The indexing of the land grants required the ability to read the microfilm of old and at times almost illegible script. The information captured in this indexing was information found on the envelope “shuck” which includes the county name, name of the grantee, number of acres, grant number, date issued, warrant number, entry number, date entered, book number, page number, location, and remarks. The location field often required researching the names of the counties’, cities, creeks, rivers, branches, and other geographical locations. This process could be time consuming because not only might the handwriting be hard to read but in many cases the spelling would be wrong or the names of geographic features would have changed over the years as well. There were also times that the names of the people listed on the shuck would be spelled different ways within the documents and shuck. In those cases I would try to determine, as much as possible, the correct name. But indexing also had its upside, including finding many interesting or humorous names, such as Ice Snow or the all-time favorite among staff working on the land grant project, Bold Robin Hood.

Although the process was long and tedious, this project will now enable researchers to view the North Carolina land grant “shuck” information online. Land grants can provide valuable information for many different researchers. Recently I learned that land grants were used to help reestablish the North Carolina-South Carolina border. Genealogists may also find information in land grants useful in their family research. Just remember that the information found in our MARS online catalog is the information found on the envelope, the “shuck,” at the time of the filming. If a researcher wants more information on the contents of the shuck they will need to visit our search room to view the microfilm, because the original land grants have been withdrawn from use as a preservation measure.

Now that this project has been completed I am on to a new project. Keep an eye out for news about a new addition to the North Carolina Digital Collections.

News and Notes

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of my catch-all blog posts to update you on everything going on in the digital side of  109 E. Jones Street.

North Carolina Digital Collection:

MARS:

Website and Blogs:

Armchair Historians – An Archives Week Recap

On Saturday Archives Week kicked off with Triangle Home Movie Day. As always, the event was well attended and a very enthusiastic crowd enjoyed the home movies brought in by their fellow participants. You can sample some of the feel of Home Movie Day celebrations across the world, including our own, by looking at the Twitter hash tag #HMD2012.

Yesterday I gave a talk as part of our celebration of North Carolina Archives Week. The talk, titled “Armchair Historians: Tools You Can Use At Home or On The Go,” covered some of our online resources including our online catalog MARS, the North Carolina Digital Collections, our social media, and some news about new projects and tools on the horizon. If you missed it but would like to read through the slides and presenters notes, a PDF version is available online.

We also had an exhibit in the Search Room yesterday – “Civil War to Civil Rights in North Carolina,” a display of documents and photographs relating to the Archives Week theme, “Journeys to Justice: Civil Rights in North Carolina.” Look for a blog post recap of that event later this week.

It’s not too late to participate in Archives Week because we still have one more event planned: on Thursday, Oct. 25 we will host a workshop on “Digitizing and Remote Sharing of Family Materials.”