Collections and Resources, Digital Library, North Carolina Collection, North Carolina History, Special Collections

1812 Almanac is Milestone Book for UNC Digitization Program

Read the 1812 Henderson's North Carolina Almanack

North Carolinians rang in the year 1812 with predictions of a hard frost on February 22 and thunder on July 23. They could learn when eclipses would take place; when the state’s federal, district, and county courts would convene; and how to revive a dead drowning victim.

Two hundred years after its publication, Thomas Henderson’s 1812 North Carolina Almanack has a new digital life.

It is the 10,000th book that the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library has digitized from its collections using a high-speed scanner and software application known as the “Scribe.”

The selection of the almanac is especially meaningful for this milestone, said Robert Anthony, curator of the North Carolina Collection in UNC’s Wilson Special Collections Library.

“Two centuries ago, an almanac was often the only book in many North Carolina homes, along with a Bible,” said Anthony. “Selecting this work for digitization gives a very direct glimpse into daily life in the Tar Heel State.”


The Scribe scanner at the Carolina Digital Library and Archives

Developed for libraries by the San Francisco-based Internet Archive, UNC’s Scribe scanner arrived in 2007 as part of the Carolina Digital Library and Archives (CDLA) in Wilson Library. The CDLA has used the Scribe to scan and publish digital versions of rare and unique books that could otherwise only be consulted in Chapel Hill.

UNC’s “scribed” books are freely available through the Library’s catalog and the Internet Archive website. The volumes include early Spanish dramas, historic North Carolina business and legislative materials, and back issues of the UNC student yearbook Yackety Yack.

According to Jenn Riley, head of the CDLA, the Scribe program has significantly expanded digital library operations at UNC. “Now the Library can put content from our collections online on a scale that far exceeds what we could do in the past,” she said.

The Library operates an additional Scribe machine as part of the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center, housed in the North Carolina Collection. The Center offers free or low-cost digitization and online hosting services to cultural heritage institutions across the state.

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