UNC Greensboro’s University Libraries is home to more than 50,000 digitized primary source materials and other historical and archival resources — photos, books, programs, scrapbooks, yearbooks, letters, etc. — comprising more than 750,000 individual objects. You can view the collection online at https://go.uncg.edu/digitalcollections, which documents multiple projects like the history of UNCG, Greensboro, and the Triad, as well as the Women Veterans Historical Project and newer collections like PRIDE! of the Community and Well Crafted NC.
This demanding work is performed by archivists, who evaluate, preserve, and arrange records and documents in public sector organizations, such as schools, museums, and libraries. Depending on their specialization, archivists handle books, letters, old photographs, audio recordings, and other materials, storing them based on an organizational system that provides efficient retrieval.
For Processing Archivist Patrick Dollar and Archivist Scott Hinshaw, making information within the archives more accessible to the public is an everyday occurrence. On any given day, they are analyzing materials, preserving collections, managing information, assisting with retrieval, and promoting archive content.
Both Dollar and Hinshaw received their Digital Archives Specialist (DAS) Certificate from the Society of American Archivists (SAA) in the fall of 2020. Founded in 1936, the SAA is North America’s oldest and largest national professional association dedicated to the needs and interests of archives and archivists. The SAA represents more than 6,200 professional archivists employed by governments, universities, businesses, libraries, and historical organizations nationally.
“The University Libraries is proud to invest in professional development opportunities for our staff members in order to stay up-to-date on their skills and talents that ultimately benefit the end user with a higher quality of product or service,” said University Libraries Interim Dean and Associate Professor Mike Crumpton.
The certificate has prepared them to carry out the mission of the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives — to collect, preserve, organize, and make accessible the often unique or rare materials that document the history of the University and the Piedmont Triad region, as well as the history of women in the United States military.
“I am the systems administrator for our Born Digital Records Management system and working with digital records is a major component of my job,” said Dollar. “The DAS Certificate has helped me learn more about best practices surrounding the preservation of born digital records and has been extremely valuable to supporting my position’s duties.”
The certification came after they completed online webinars, in-person courses, and exams across four tiers of study, including foundational, tactical and strategic, tools and services, and transformational areas of digital archiving — all within a two-year time frame.
“The courses and programming were really great and I’ve learned so much from this program. I think it’s a great way for Archivists to gain new skills and knowledge about our constantly evolving profession,” said Hinshaw.
Once participants complete all nine courses, they must complete a comprehensive exam. And, after earning the certificate, it is good for five years and can be renewed after the completion of four additional courses.
“I’m so grateful to work in an environment and with people who encourage career development, so I want to say thanks to Erin Lawrimore, Keith Gorman, Mike Crumpton, and Kathelene McCarty Smith, ” said Hinshaw.
Hinshaw, a two-time alumnus, graduated from UNCG with dual majors in Ancient Greek and Latin Languages and Historical Archaeology and began working at the University Libraries in 1999. After receiving his bachelor of arts degree, Hinshaw obtained his master of arts degree in American History with an Historical Preservation Certificate from UNCG.
“This achievement wouldn’t have been possible without the very generous support of University Libraries — from my supervisors in Special Collections and University Archives to our interim dean,” said Dollar.
Dollar joined University Libraries in 2017 and received his bachelor of arts degree from UNC-Chapel Hill with dual degrees in Journalism and English. He obtained his master of arts degree in English from UNCG and also holds a master’s degree in Library Science from UNC-Chapel Hill.
“Scott and Patrick, by achieving their DAS Certificate, have demonstrated their commitment to the University Libraries by representing this higher level of expectation to our stakeholders. I commend their achievement and congratulate their efforts,” said Crumpton.