Professional Development

Preserving Digital Heritage Collections- NCPC Annual Conference

Monday, November 5, 2012 4:54 pm

NC Museum of History-Raleigh

On Friday, November 2nd, I traveled to Raleigh and the North Carolina Museum of History for the NCPC Annual Conference. The theme this year was “Preserving Digital Heritage Collections.” The first order of business was giving out the 1st award for Collection Preservation Excellence and I’m happy to say this was given to the Wake Forest Museum of Anthropology.

The first presentation was by Jaime Pursuit, Partnership and Development Manager for Cyark. Cyark is a non-profit organization whose mission is to digitally preserved cultural heritage sites using laser scanning and other technologies. These are often world heritage sites often that are in danger of being destroyed by war or pollution. In one case, Cyark archived the Royal Tomb at Kasubi in Uganda, a site which was later destroyed by fire. Fortunately, the site now survives virtually. Cyark has digitally preserved over 70 sites around the world, including the Easter Island sculptures and Mount Rushmore. The Cyark work was inspiring as they continue to document, archive and make accessible this 3-dimensional documentation of physical sites.

Caroline Bruzelius, A.M. Cogan Professor of Art and Art History and Mark Olson, Assistant Professor of Visual and Media Studies at Duke presented on the Wired Lab for Digital Historical Visualization. They are part of an interdisciplinary and collaborative team. This team connects research in sculpture, architecture, urbanism, and painting with technology for visualizing and modeling cultural artifacts and historical environments. Noteworthy projects include visualization of artifacts from ancient Athens discovered during recent archaeological excavations and mortuary art in the historic Maplewood Cemetery of Durham. They attempt to engage students with active learning where they use Google Sketchup to create visualizations of the built world. They also emphasize ‘learning by making’ by creating a cathedral using Autocad or re-contextualizing bits of sculpture back into their original environment.

After lunch, there were presentations by Nick Graham, Program Coordinator for the NC Digital History Center Nick discussed his work into digitization, digital publishing and project planning. Most everyone was already familiar with Nick and his good work digitizing their university’s yearbooks or newspapers. Beyond this, the NCDHC has also created digital projects on quilts, license plates, and samplers.

Lisa Gregory, the Digital Collections manager at the State Library of North Carolina presented on their uses of CINCH (Capture, INjest and CHecksum). This digital preservation tool automates the transfer of online content to a repository, using ingest technologies appropriate. CINCH is a free through an IMLS grant and helps the State Library archive web content much as we do here at ZSR using Archive-It.

Brian Dietz, Digital program Librarian at NC State, presented on “The Built Heritage of North Carolina and Beaux Arts to Modernism.” These are digital collections that provide access to buildings and architecture in North Carolina from the 1700’s to the mid-1900’s.
NC State partnered with the Asheville Art Museum, Preservation North Carolina, UNC Charlotte and the State Library of North Carolina for this project. They used a systematic approach to archive these materials and providing access to over 17,000 documents through the NCSU Special Collections Research Center.

Finally, NCPC is going to be raffling art to raise funding for this organization. Keep your eyes on ncpreservation.org for details.

3 Responses to “Preserving Digital Heritage Collections- NCPC Annual Conference”

  1. Go Wake Forest Anthropology! Great write-up, Craig.

  2. Excellent report, Craig. I will definitely congratulate the Anthropology Museum!

  3. Sounds like it was a full day of good information!


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