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August 10, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

A two-year grant will fund the creation of a digital collection of core North Carolina governmental documents by J.Y. Joyner Library at East Carolina University and two other state libraries.

The “Ensuring Democracy through Digital Access” grant will allow Joyner Library, the State Library of North Carolina (SLNC), and the University of North Carolina Library at Chapel Hill to digitize state documents along with printed volumes from the three partner libraries, the N.C. Supreme Court Library and the N.C. Legislative Library.

When the project is completed, computer users worldwide will have access to complete runs of session laws, legislative journals, and reports of such important agencies as the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Department of Public Instruction.

A total of 775,000 pages (approximately 2,300 volumes) will be digitized over the course of two years by UNC-CH in cooperation with the Open Content Alliance, a collaborative digital library of more than 1.2 million digitized volumes and other multimedia from around the world, all freely available through the Internet Archive. In the second year, J.Y. Joyner Library will lead a workshop in which area educators will use the North Carolina Standard Course of Study to develop educational activities that will further enhance classroom learning.  These materials will then be added to the collection website in a special educator portal. In addition, ECU will promote the finished product at several conferences.

Through these activities, ECU will aid North Carolina educators in integrating these materials into their classroom activities. In turn, these educators will inform the next generation of researchers about the publications’ value to the study of historical and contemporary North Carolina and give them the skills to integrate these materials into their research.

“This project will revolutionize the study of North Carolina's past," said Maury York, assistant director for special collections at East Carolina University. “Scholars, local historians, and students at all levels will have ready access to rich resources that pertain to many fields--corrections, education, health care, labor, public works, and much more.”

The primary audience for the collection will be historians, researchers, and students (both university level and K-12) of North Carolina, however, as this material also covers an important formative era in the history of our country, the collection will also be of interest to those outside the state. Since the digitized content will be openly accessible and retrievable through sources like Google, WorldCat, the Internet Archive, and through the collection website, these materials will be easily found by a broader audience.

The grant, “Ensuring Democracy through Digital Access,”is made possible by funding from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources.

For more information about the grant or JY Joyner Library, please contact Dawn Wainwright at (252) 328-4090.