Grant will lead to preservation of rare audiovisual collects at UNC Library

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For immediate use: Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Historic audio and moving image collections at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library will be a step closer to long-term preservation, thanks to a grant of $187,082 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


The one-year grant, called “Extending the Reach of Southern Audiovisual Sources,” will help the Library’s Southern Folklife Collection (SFC) develop techniques to preserve these materials on a large scale and make them available online for public use.


The SFC will celebrate its 25th anniversary in August. Since its opening in 1989, it has gained recognition as a cornerstone for research into Southern vernacular music, art, and culture.


Researchers can tap into more than 250,000 sound recordings, 3,000 video recordings, and 8 million feet of motion picture film.


Collection treasures include the first recording by a young Dolly Parton; the archives of Durham-based Merge Records; and, an archive of documentary films on American roots cultures.


The grant will have several parts:

  • The SFC, with the help of a consultant, will completely review and re-engineer workflows in order to be able to digitize audiovisual materials on a large scale;
  • An advisory group of scholars will meet to guide the Collection’s preservation priorities;
  • The SFC will audit the condition and preservation needs of all of its collections; and
  • Grant personnel will determine how digitized content can be streamed for public access.


Library contact: Steve Weiss, (919) 962-7105,