In 2007, a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation enabled Carolina’s Southern Historical CollectionOpens in new window (SHC) to study the feasibility of making its nearly 30 million items available online. Digitization began in 2009, and seven years later, SHC staff realized a major milestone had snuck up on them. In late 2016, more than one million scans are now online and available for use by researchers and students anywhere.
With the Digital SHC, UNC-Chapel Hill archivists committed themselves to a new model—a true online research collection with the scope and heft for meaningful discoveries. “We do what we’ve always done: Process the material, arrange and describe it, and get it out there for people to use,” said archivist Laura Hart. And researchers can use those materials to discover new interpretations of Southern history from anywhere in the world.