Digital Initiatives at UNC Health Sciences Library
As a leader in the digitization and preservation of significant assets in the health sciences, the UNC Health Sciences Library is making relevant content available online for new and broader audiences, including historical journals, pamphlets, and books, archival collections, as well as contemporary health-related materials. True to its mission to serve the people of North Carolina and beyond, the Library is working to improve and facilitate access to not only North Carolina resources, both historical and cutting edge, but to global digital resources in the health sciences.
In one noteworthy endeavor, the Health Sciences Library is collaborating with the Carolina Digital Library and Archive to digitize early North Carolina health-related journals and monographs . To date, the journals digitized in this project are:
- Biennial Report of the North Carolina Board of Health [1879-1972]
- Bulletin of the North Carolina Board of Health [1886-1973]
- Proceedings [and Transactions] of the North Carolina Dental Society [1875-1922]
- Biennial Report of the Eugenics Board of North Carolina [1934-1966]
Many early journals are not held in their entirety by any single library, which underscores how fragile the historical record can be and how essential it is to create definitive digital collections that provide universal access. In the case of the publications of the North Carolina Board of Health, the core record of the development of public health in the state is now widely and freely available, not only to North Carolinians but to anyone located anywhere in the world. Researchers, students, and the public can now see online what health problems were facing the people of the state, such as hookworm, malaria, tuberculosis, venereal disease, mental health, nutrition, and sanitation, and how they were treated over time. These journals are a treasure trove of statistical and demographic data and document the evolution of health care in North Carolina in its many facets.
There are more examples of unique and valuable content that the Health Sciences Library is working to digitize and publish, such as the records and documents of health organizations and individual researchers, medical journals and texts, and finding aids to archival collections. By developing sustainable and scalable digital collections that are easily and freely accessible, the impact on health sciences research and public health outcomes will be great, for North Carolina — and globally.