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2012 SNCA Annual Meeting. Tractor Building and Tobacco Curing: Exposing Agricultural Collections. Kristen Merryman SPECIAL COLLECTIONS RESEARCH CENTER. BACKGROUND. Cultivating a Revolution Digital Project. 2 year LSTA funded project

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2012 SNCA Annual Meeting

Tractor Building and Tobacco Curing: Exposing Agricultural Collections

Kristen Merryman



Cultivating a Revolution Digital Project

  • 2 year LSTA funded project

  • Digitizing agricultural innovation research at NCSU materials from 1950s-1970s

  • Outputs:

    • 20,000-25,000 individual page scans from 15 archival collections

    • 114 16mm films (14.5 hours) reformatted

    • K-12 Teacher Resources (Related Topic Essays and Lesson Plans)

  • Online access at the folder level

  • Materials are accessible at http://go.ncsu.edu/cultivatingarevolution


Cultivating a Revolution Digital Project


Cultivating a Revolution Digital Project


Cultivating a Revolution Digital Project


Goals of Outreach Efforts

Outreach not a primary grant goal – BUT!

  • promote knowledge and use of project materials

  • if people don't know the project and accessible materials exist - what's the point of digitizing them?

  • Conversations with potential users influence how we provide access and what is included in the grant - flexible plan for material inclusion

  • Strong effort to get word out in Year 1, so materials are already being used by Year 2 and before the end of the project


  • Materials being digitized aren't easily understood - scientific/research data heavy

    • We need to think differently about our resources and how they can be used - how can students use them beyond paper writing

  • Appealing to "non-traditional" users

    • Non-traditional = not a historian (esp. not a social/political/economic historian)

    • tend to be less invested because it is harder for them to see use cases - more effort on our part to get them to talk to us, nevermind discuss uses


Despite Challenges - Big Opportunities

NCSU is an Ag School, First and Foremost


Potential Users

  • Sociologists

  • Agriculture people (faculty, students, Alpha Zeta, student groups)

  • Horticulturists

  • Weed Scientists

  • Scientific Organization Historians

  • History of science and technology

  • Environmental Scientists and Students


Internal and External Outreach

  • Academic departments/faculty we have a relationship with already

  • Special academic programs (Jefferson Scholars, Honors Program)

  • Student Groups

  • Department colleagues

  • Library/Institution colleagues

  • Student employees


Capturing Interest


  • drop-ins are your friend!

  • casual conversations work better than formal presentations

  • have ready examples for how students and faculty can use your materials - either through projects or as research topics

  • be able to bring up specific examples of materials to grab their interest

  • bring along technology to show it off!



  • Utilize people you already know (both internally at your institution and externally)

  • Take advantage of programs that combine humanities and sciences

  • Have casual conversations to create working relationships that will last

Kristen Merryman

Digital Project Librarian for Cultivating a Revolution

(919) 513-3359 [email protected]