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North Carolina Digitized Newspapers Symposium

March 24, 2015 @ 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm

What Can You Do with 3 Million Pages of Digitized North Carolina Newspapers?

An Introduction to Research, Teaching, and Engaged Scholarship Using the North Carolina Historical Newspapers Digital Collection

The Digital Innovation Lab, the Howard W. Odum Institute for Research in Social Science, and the UNC Libraries cordially invite scholars (faculty, administrators, librarians and archivists, and graduate students) from the UNC community to explore potential research, teaching, and engaged scholarship applications of the North Carolina Historical Newspapers Digital Collection: over 3.3 million pages of pre-1923 newspapers from across the state, digitized and made available to the UNC community through a partnership between the UNC Libraries and Newspapers.com.

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015
2-5 pm
Pleasants Family Assembly Room
Wilson Library

Followed by a reception in Wilson Lobby

Program Schedule:
Attendees may come for all or part of the symposium; an RSVP is requested only for the reception (see below).

Bring your laptop or other device to begin using the collection immediately.

Welcome and Demonstration of the Digital Newspaper Interface

The North Carolina Newspaper Collection and the Newspapers.com Partnership

  • Nicholas Graham, Program Coordinator, North Carolina Digital Heritage Center, UNC Libraries
  • Krista Hegerhorst, Head of Institutional Partnerships, Newspapers.com

Using Digitized Newspapers in Teaching and Researching North Carolina History

  • Robert Allen, James Logan Godfrey Distinguished Professor of American Studies at UNC Chapel Hill and Director of UNC’s Digital Innovation Lab
  • Catherine Bishir, Curator of Architecture Special Collections at North Carolina State University Libraries and Editor in Chief of North Carolina Architects & Builders
  • Thomas Carsey, Thomas J. Pearsall Distinguished Professor of Political Science at UNC Chapel Hill and Director of the Odum Institute for Research in Social Science

“Listicles, Vignettes, and Squibs: A Proto-History of Viral Media in Nineteenth-Century Newspapers”

Ryan Cordell, Assistant Professor of English and Founding Core Faculty of the NULab for Texts, Maps and Networks at Northeastern University; Co-Director, Viral Texts: Mapping Networks of Reprinting in Nineteenth-Century Periodicals

Drawing from the Viral Texts project, which uses robust data mining tools to discover reprinted content across large-scale historical archives, Cordell will discuss popular but forgotten texts that “went viral” in nineteenth-century newspapers and magazines. What was reprinted, and why? And what might this popular newspaper literature teach us about writers and readers during the period?

Questions and discussion

Reception (RSVP to Ashley Reed, reeda@email.unc.edu, by Friday, March 20th)

About the North Carolina Historical Newspapers

Over the last year, Ancestry.com and its subsidiary Newspapers.com have partnered with UNC to exponentially expand access to millions of North Carolina newspapers. Newspapers.com has digitized all pre-1923 newspapers on microfilm in the North Carolina Collection—some 3600 reels or more than 3 million pages. This is the largest collection of statewide newspapers ever digitized and made available by an academic institution.

The collection is already available for browsing and word/name searching to anyone with an ONYEN via the UNC Libraries website (go to library.unc.edu and search for “newspapers.com”). Use of the digital files for “big data” applications (text mining, topic modeling, network analysis) is also being explored.

The North Carolina Historical Newspapers Digital Collection includes general interest newspapers from across the state as well as foreign language publications (like the Goldsboro Südliche Post), industrial and mechanical bulletins (the Edenton Fisherman and Farmer, the Railroad Ticket), religious journals (the Raleigh Christian Advocate), African-American publications (the African Expositor), literary journals (The Belles-Lettres, The Leisure Hour), and special interest papers of various kinds (from The Deaf Mute to the Friend of Temperance).

Scholars interested in exploring uses of the digital newspaper collection but who will not be able to attend the symposium are encouraged to contact Ashley Reed at the address below.

Event contact:
Ashley Reed
CDHI Postdoctoral Fellow


March 24, 2015
2:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Event Category:


Pleasants Family Assembly Room
Wilson Library
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
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