May 20, 2022

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries: “Documentary Filmmaker Ken Burns’ Research Team Looked at Thousands of Digitized Images Across Multiple Collections that Document the Country Music Industry”

From The Well (UNC at Chapel Hill):

The new Ken Burns documentary “Country Music” could not have fully described the origins of the musical genre and recording industry without the help of Carolina’s Southern Folklife Collection at the University Libraries.

“The Southern Folklife Collection’s holdings are among the foremost archives for researching country music and a significant resource for the filmmakers,” said Steve Weiss, the collection’s curator. “Our holdings extensively document the history of country music in all periods of its development, with a particular strength in the music’s formation as a commercial industry. The library was honored to help and contribute to this project.”

Burns, executive producer of the series, and Florentine Films sent a research team to Chapel Hill in 2016. Aaron Smithers, a former assistant in the SFC who now is the special collections research and instruction librarian in the Wilson Library Special Collections Library, helped them navigate thousands of digitized images across multiple collections. Smithers and Wilson Library’s Digital Production Center staff and audio preservation engineers helped two researchers who made reference images to take back to directors and producers. They also made notes from audio recordings, transcripts and manuscripts.

Learn More, Read the Complete Article

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( 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, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.