January 20, 2022

University of North Carolina (UNC) University Libraries Awarded Three-Year $1.75 Million Grant to Digitize Multimedia From Southern Folklife Collection; Largest Grant in University Libraries History

From UNC University Libraries:

2018-08-08_10-08-58Speeches that U.S. presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy delivered at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, recordings of Beat poets such as Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, performances by North Carolina icons Andy Griffith and Doc Watson and street scenes filmed across North Carolina in the 1930s are among the items that global audiences and researchers will soon be able to hear and view online.

A grant of $1.75 million from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will allow the Southern Folklife Collection (SFC) at Carolina’s University Libraries to preserve, digitize and share unique audio and moving image recordings with the world.

The three-year grant is the largest ever made to the University Libraries. It will address collections from the SFC and other parts of the Wilson Special Collections Library, as well as at six partner institutions across the state.

“Support from the Mellon Foundation has allowed Carolina’s libraries to take a leading role in preserving our nation’s fragile audiovisual heritage. We are grateful for the Foundation’s continued investment in our work,” said Elaine Westbrooks, vice provost for University Libraries and University librarian.


The SFC will partner with six institutions through the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center, a statewide digitization and publishing program based at Wilson Library. The State Archives of North Carolina, the Southern Appalachian Archives at Mars Hill University and the Forest History Society in Durham have already committed to work with the SFC.

The SFC will hire two audio engineers and two audiovisual assistants to manage audio preservation and digitization at its studio in Wilson Library. A specialized contractor will handle film and video materials.

Digitized materials will be available through the NC Digital Heritage Center and Wilson Special Collections Library digital collections portal.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.