New Website Collection and Digital Access Guide

We have written before about collecting tweets related to the recent protests of the Confederate monument on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. We would like to announce the availability of the UNC-Chapel Hill Confederate Monument Protest web archive collection as an additional resource on the recent protests.

Screenshot of a wordcloud. some of the most prominent words are students, confederate, statue, unc, monument, silent, campus, protest
Sample wordcloud generated from collected tweets that included #silentsam or #silencesam (from Fall semester 2017).

The web archive collection contains a variety of content related to the protests. It contains many statements about the monument in the form of editorials, webpages, tweets, and Google documents. The collection also includes news articles from The News & Observer, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and more. The collection also includes other online materials such as activist websites, editorial cartoons, and Facebook event pages. You can learn more about the web archive in the finding aid on our website.

Additionally, the UNC-Chapel Hill Confederate Monument Protest tweet collection has expanded to include tweets from 2018 and 2019. Visit the finding aid for additional details.

Access to the tweets and web archives can involve a slight learning curve due to technical methods used for collecting the material. So, with this in mind, we are also happy to announce the release of a guide to accessing digital materials. The guide includes information on where to find archived websites, tools for using Twitter data sets, and tips on accessing the myriad file formats in our collections.

If you have any questions about these collections or are interested in donating material related to protests of the monument, please feel free to contact us by email: archives@unc.edu.

A New Addition of Athletics Photographs from the 1960s and 1970s

We are excited to announce that a new accession of photographs to the Department of Athletics Collection is available for research. This accession is particularly special since it contains images of less-documented sports — including women’s sports and intramural sports — from the 1960s and 1970s.

Included in this addition are images of the Titleholder’s Championship (also called the Women’s Pro Tournament), held at Southern Pines and sponsored by UNC in 1972.  The Titleholder’s Championship was only a handful of championship-level events for professional women’s golf in the 1970s, and the winner of the event — Sandra Palmer — was one of the most accomplished female golfers of the time. The addition also includes photographs of the 1963 renovations to Kenan Stadium.

The selection of photos below include images of men’s intramural handball; women’s intramural basketball, volleyball, tennis, and bowling.

 

Collecting a Snapshot of #SilenceSam

The Confederate Monument on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus has been the subject of controversy and protest for decades. A detailed timeline and corresponding archival materials related to the monument between 1908 and 2015 can be explored online via our Guide to Resources about UNC’s Confederate Monument. While some aspects of the current protests mirror past efforts, social media has facilitated new approaches for sharing information and sparking action on campus. In an effort to document the current protests, we knew it would be important to explore methods for collecting a sampling of tweets related to the Silence Sam protests.  

We decided to use a tool called twarc to harvest tweet data for specific hashtags searches. Twarc is a Python package that makes use of the Twitter API to collect tweets. Between August 22 and December 15, 2017, we performed a weekly search and harvest of #silencesam and #silentsam. In addition, we infrequently captured select complementary hashtags: #boycottunc #boycottunctownhall #iaarchat and the @Move_Silent_Sam user account. 15,063 tweets were collected across all searches. The hashtags #silentsam and #silencesam make the up the majority with 12,993 tweets collected.  

The tweets are in a raw form, so to speak. Twarc returns the tweets and associated metadata in a JSON document. So, in this collection you won’t automatically find a timeline that looks like the Twitter website. Instead, what we have is a structured text document with many lines and each line represents a tweet and associated metadata about that tweet. The data can be manipulated in a variety of ways for analysis or viewing. A wide variety of visualization tools could be useful for working with the data.  

To get started working with this collection, though, you’ll first need a Twitter account and Hydrator or twarc installed.

The first step is to “hydrate” the dataset. There are some specific access stipulations for this collection due to the Twitter API terms of service. We cannot make the full data we collected available for use. In particular, we are unable to make deleted tweets available for use. Instead, we provide a list of the tweet identifiers (tweet ids) for all the tweets we’ve collected in our repository. This list of identifiers can be hydrated by querying the Twitter API for the tweets that are still publicly available. There are two options for hydrating the tweet ids.  

Download the Hydrator tool  

  • You’ll need to authorize the app to connect to your Twitter account.  
  • Upload the tweet identifier document to Hydrator and start the process.
  • Download the hydrated tweets from the tool.

Hydrate using the command line with twarc 

  • This method will require you to have Twitter API credentials. It’s not as intense as it sounds. Social Feed Manager, a project at George Washington University Libraries, provides a helpful guide in their documentation under the Adding Twitter Credentials section. Don’t worry about the parts that are specific to using Social Feed Manager. Your API keys will be entered via command line when setting up twarc. Instructions for setting up twarc are available on GitHub. 

Once you have hydrated the dataset using one of the options above, you’ll have the full text of tweets and metadata in a JSON document or a CSV spreadsheet (from Hydrator).

The next step is to begin working with the data. You could use a variety of tools to visualize the data.  Twarc comes with a few useful “utilities” that can also be used. A few are highlighted below:

wordcloud.py 

Screenshot of a wordcloud. some of the most prominent words are students, confederate, statue, unc, monument, silent, campus, protest
Sample wordcloud generated from collected tweets that included #silentsam or #silencesam (from Fall semester 2017).

emoji.py

Screenshot showing emojis found in tweets. Angry, red face emoji was most used.
The emoji.py program provides a way to tally up the emojis used across collected tweets.

wall.py 

The wall.py program is the best way to generate a timeline of tweets that can be read one by one.

noretweets.py and deduplicate.py 

These programs may be useful if you want to pare down the dataset. We don’t anticipate much duplication of tweets in the dataset, but no deduplication has been performed by us prior to making the collection available.

A note on images and video: There are limitations to collecting video and image files embedded in tweets due to the nature of the collecting by API. You may try using the method shared in this blog post from Tim Sherratt under Get Images. He uses image URLs and wget to gather pictures.

Access the Collection: You can find the collection description here and access to the tweet identifiers documents can be found here 

Other on-going collecting efforts related to the Confederate Monument protests that began on August 22, 2017 can be found:  

If you have materials related to the protests – like photos, signs, or video – and you are interested in donating these materials to the University Archives, please contact us by email archives@unc.edu 

 Other twarc and social media archive resources: 

 

New in the Archives: Newsletters from the School of Pharmacy

Recently we were pleased to receive a series of newsletters from the UNC School of Pharmacy. These newsletters provide a window into the activities of the School and its students from 1962-1965 and frequently feature creative cartoon covers. Check out a preview below, and stop by Wilson Library to browse the collection!

 

Now Available: Edie Parker Papers

We are pleased to announce a new addition to University Archives, the Edie Parker Papers.

Edie Parker (then Edie Knight) attended UNC from 1947 to 1949. As a student, she was active in student government, Greek life, and the Model United Nations. The collection — mostly in the form of a scrapbook — includes materials from the Women’s Intercollegiate Government Forum that Parker planned, orientation booklets, rush invitations, clippings about the Model UN from the Daily Tar Heel, and letters from male suitors. While at UNC, Parker also participated in a conference about the U.S. role in European recovery from World War II that Mademoiselle magazine hosted in 1948. Her notes from the conference are included in the collection. Parker’s scrapbook and accompanying papers provide insight into the life of a woman student at UNC during the late 1940s.

Below, we’ve highlighted just a few items from the Edie Parker scrapbook, including photographs of UNC students and the 1949 UNC Commencement program.

Letters from World War I

Carolina students and alumni serving abroad during World War I didn’t just write letters home to their parents; they also wrote to University President Edward Kidder Graham. A recent ‘Spotlight’ post on the University’s home page explores the close relationship between student soldiers and Graham through their correspondence.  In honor of Veteran’s Day, we pulled a letter written by a group of soldiers in France from the University Archives.  Read about their wartime experiences and note their yearning for Chapel Hill.

Now Available: Records of the UNC Cardboard Club

University Archives is pleased to share a newly processed collection – the records of the UNC Cardboard Club. The Cardboard Club, started in 1948 by UNC cheerleader Norman Sper, coordinated and produced displays at UNC football games, using colored cardboard squares to form words and images in the stands.

unc_cardboard_023
Animated GIF made from photos from a 1967 football game between UNC and Wake Forest, in the Records of the UNC Cardboard Club (#40354), University Archives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Members of the club planned out their designs on gridded paper, and placed cardboard squares and cue cards listing the upcoming “stunts” on the seats of the “card section” of Kenan Stadium the night before football games.

GIF made from photos of a 1966 UNC versus Duke game from the Cardboard Club Records (40354), University Archives.
GIF made from photos of a 1966 UNC versus Duke game from the Cardboard Club Records (40354), University Archives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The club was funded by the Carolina Athletic Association. It was discontinued in 1987, in part due to safety concerns–students often sent their cardboard panels flying towards the field at the end of games, hitting fellow spectators.

See more photos of the Club’s game day stunts in the collection finding aid.

 

Stone Center Records Now Available for Research

I am very pleased to share news about a recent addition to the University Archives: the records of the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History.

These records, covering the years 1984-2013, contain materials tracing the history of the Center, from the first discussions and proposal in 1984, through the student protests in support of the Center in the early 1990s, to the opening of the free-standing Center in 2004 and its emergence as a vital part of the academic and cultural life at UNC.

The Stone Center records are open and available for research in Wilson Library.

The Creation of the Department of Communication Studies

University Archives recently acquired records from the Department of Communication, located in Bingham Hall. The records highlighted one of the many departmental reorganizations that have shaped the university: the 1993 merger of the Department of Radio, Television, and Motion Pictures (RTVMP) and the Department of Speech Communication. The merger resulted in the Department of Communication Studies, which this month became the Department of Communication.

Department of Radio, Television, and Motion Pictures (RTVMP): Three men with equipment, circa 1952 #P0031
WUNC’s John Young, Dr. Earl Wynn of what was then the Department of Radio, and an unidentified man in a radio studio, circa 1952. The Department of Radio, established in 1947, became the Department of Radio, Television, and Motion Pictures in 1954. From the UNC Photographic Laboratory Collection (#P0031), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archive.

In November 1990, the Daily Tar Heel published a series of articles reporting student and alumni dissatisfaction with the job preparation provided by the department. This was further compounded by the department’s refusal of an equipment donation by an RTVMP alumnus on the grounds of insufficient space in Swain Hall, high maintenance costs, and onerous gift conditions. Some RTVMP students and alumni thought the refusal indicated that the department was not dedicated to providing students with technical skills needed for careers in media production.

A 1993 external review of the department included four major recommendations:

1. That the Department of Radio, Television, and Motion Pictures at UNC-Chapel Hill be disestablished;

2. That four of its faculty lines be transferred to a new Curriculum in Cultural Studies (or to some other academic unit, temporarily, until permission for a new Curriculum can be secured); at least two of these lines should be filled by persons with media interests;

3. That the remainder of its faculty lines be collected into a new sequence in Media Arts within the Department of Speech Communication;

4. That the Department of Speech Communication’s name be changed to the Department of Communication Studies.

(From the Records of the Department of Speech Communication #40455, unprocessed)

The review was poorly received by many RTVMP students and alumni as it also proposed the elimination of “radio production, broadcast management, corporate video, studio production, and broadcast journalism.”  Perceived lack of support for production classes was one of the primary complaints students and alumni reported in 1990, and it had remained a sticking point among students who planned to seek media production jobs following graduation.

The university largely followed recommendations set out in the review and on August 1, 1993, merged the Department of RTVMP and Department of Speech Communication into the Department of Communication Studies. The Daily Tar Heel reported in September 1993 that despite fears that the media production program would suffer as a result of the merger, the new department allocated “$38,500 for production equipment and maintenance—$25,500 more than the RTVMP department had to work with during the last academic year.”

UNC Department of Communication, from https://twitter.com/UNCDeptComm/status/649958554020020224/photo/1
From the UNC Department of Communication Twitter page

Now in its 22nd year, the Department of Communication still offers specialization in Media and Technology Studies and Media Production.

LGBTQ Center: New Collection and New Finding Aid

University Archives recently acquired a new collection from the LGBTQ Center. This is an exciting hybrid collection that includes material documenting the center’s history for its ten-year anniversary in 2014. Online content is in the CDR and the finding aid is here. We are very happy to make this material available and look forward to continuing to work with the LGBTQ Center.

Image credit: LGBTQ Center web site, https://lgbtq.unc.edu/programs-services/safe-zone.