The Dark Archive

Posted May 26 2022 by Agnes Gambill

Appalachian State University's Digital Humanities Lab brings together faculty, staff, and students across campus to network with other researchers, explore ideas and innovations related to digital humanities, and collaborate on research projects.  We have forged relationships with many departments across the university as we believe in the power of interdisciplinary research.  We have recently hosted workshops on geographic information system (GIS) mapping, text curation, and text analytics to ensure that our research community has the skills they need to succeed.  

Documentary film production is a notable area of strength within our group.  Dr. Beth Davison and Dr. Kristan Cockerill directed and produced the film DocuAppalachia, which reflects on American environmental history in the 1970s and discusses how environmental history has changed and remained the same in the rural, southern Appalachian mountains.  The directors use an untitled, silent film reel from the 1970s that was discovered in a storage location in Boone, North Carolina as a frame for the discussion.  The film was praised by the Watauga Democrat and screened at the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum.   Another notable documentary production that highlights the research of Appalachian's Digital Humanities community is The American Diplomat.  This film premiered on February 15, 2022 on American Experience (PBS),, and PBS video.  Dr. Michael Krenn of Appalachian's Department of History served as Chief Historical Advisor to the film project.  Dr. Krenn is also the author of "Black Diplomacy: African Americans and the State Department, 1945-1969," the book that inspired The American Diplomat.  The film tells the story of three African American ambassadors during the 20th century, including their diplomatic efforts abroad and efforts to desegregate the State Department.  The documentary has also been screened at the JFK Presidential Library. Learn more information about the Digital Humanities Lab @ Appalachian and to explore our communities' research projects on the Digital Humanities site.        

Posted Mar 28 2022 by Pam Mitchem

Appalachian State University, UNC Asheville, and Western Carolina University Libraries are sponsoring an online event to showcase recent digital projects from each institution on the theme of tourism in Appalachia on April 27th 2022 1:30-3:00pm. This 90 minute event will begin with a speaker’s panel. A representative from each library will provide a 15 minute talk about the digital collections/exhibits listed below. This will be followed by a 25 minute presentation from keynote speaker, Dr. Andy Denson, author of Monuments to Absence: Cherokee Removal and the Contest over Southern Memory (Chapel Hill:University of North Carolina Press, 2017) and Associate Professor of History at Western Carolina University.

Dr. Denson’s presentation will discuss the roles played by Cherokee sites of memory and images of Native American history in the evolution of tourism cultures in Southern Appalachia. In the early twentieth century, tourism development opened new arenas for representations of Cherokee history in Western North Carolina. Tourism promoters and regional business leaders sought out cultural attractions to accompany the region’s celebrated natural environment, and they identified the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians as a major tourism asset. This new attention influenced public memory, as tourism promoters recounted episodes from the Cherokee past in their depictions of the mountains. Cherokee history became a more central element of the region’s public identity. This presentation will chart this transformation, while exploring the influence of tourism cultures on the Eastern Band’s twentieth century political resurgence. 

Gene Hyde, Head of Special Collections and University Archivist at UNC Asheville, will explore the legacy of early 20th century resort tourism with materials from the Ora Rives Collection, the Frank Coxe Papers, the Fred Loring Seely Papers, the E. W. Grove papers, as well as ephemera, images, and postcards from other collections. The main theme will be the development of two famous resort hotels in Asheville, the Battery Park Hotel and the Grove Park Inn.

Appalachian State University’s Pam Mitchem, Coordinator of Digital Scholarship and Initiatives; Ashlea Green, Metadata Librarian; and Dea Rice, Digital Projects Librarian, will talk about their exhibit featuring the Kelly E.Bennett Papersthat tells the story of the establishment of and connection between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Cherokee Historical Association and its related museum and outdoor drama, Unto These Hills.

Rebecca Saunders, Cataloging and Metadata Librarian, and Liz Harper, Special and Digital Collections Librarian, will highlight three digital collections from Western Carolina University focusing on the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, scenic images from their PicturingAppalachia collection, and the collection Cherokee Traditions, which documents Cherokee craft and language traditions.

Click here to register.

Contact: Pam Mitchem, Coordinator of Digital Scholarship & Initiatives, Appalachian State University Libraries, (828) 262-7422,

This project is funded by the Martha and Nancy Lee Bivens University Library Fund for Excellence

Posted Nov 19 2021 by Pam Mitchem

The Appalachian State University Libraries’ Digital Scholarship and Initiatives team received the 2021 National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA) Organization Excellence Award, which “recognizes those organizations providing significant support, guidance, advocacy, or leadership for the digital preservation community.” NDSA is an international consortium of member organizations committed to the long-term preservation of digital information. Former recipients of this award include the National Archives.

 Appalachian State University’s Digital Scholarship and Initiatives (DSI) team engages and collaborates with library partners, campus, and the community to support new scholarship and digital collections. DSI provides and sustains innovative digital tools and publishing platforms for content delivery, discovery, analysis, data curation, and preservation. We enhance student learning and encourage faculty research, primarily by providing access to and information about new methods of digital scholarship and lending support in the areas of copyright, fair use, and intellectual property. Additionally, DSI is committed to representing and reflecting the unique experiences and perspectives of all people, partners, and the community through our collaborative work documenting the Appalachian region’s historically underrepresented populations. Some examples of DSI’s collaborations include the Lincoln Heights, Appalachian Consortium Press, and Katuah projects.

Open Access logo

Posted Jun 22 2021 by Agnes Gambill

In 2020, Scholarly Communications launched a new program to help faculty and researchers publish open access academic journals at Appalachian State University.  The first two journals were created in collaboration with the Center for Analytics Research and Education at Appalachian's Walker College of BusinessUniversity of Arkansas, and SAS Institute, the world's largest privately-held software business. 

Appalachian's Head of Scholarly Communications, Agnes Gambill, has worked closely with the Knowledge Futures Group, a non-profit that was initially founded as a partnership between MIT Press and MIT Media Lab, to implement PubPub, the open publishing platform used to support Appalachian's open journals program.  Knowledge Futures Group builds products that make knowledge open and accessible for all.  Applachian State University Library is a founding member of Knowledge Future Group's program, Community Publishing for Libraries (CP4L). 

The new journals are unique as they are considered "data journals," a type of scholarly journal that publishes data papers and datasets.  While Appalachian publishes original and peer-reviewed data papers, the University of Arkansas hosts the datasets that are associated with each publication on its Teradata platform.  The two journals include BeeXML: Journal for Bee Data Standardization and Data & Analytics For Good.  Both journals aim to further one or more of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to support research practices that facilitate open science.  The newest addition to the open journal program is the Journal of the Blue Cross Institute for Health and Human Services (JIHHS).  

To learn more about Appalachian's Open Journal program, check out this blog post by the Knowledge Futures Group.  The blog post features a presentation by Professor Gambill at the 2021 Library Publishing Forum and a brief virtual tour of the open data journals.     

For more information about open access, scholarly publishing, or how to start a new open access journal, contact Scholarly Communications at Appalachian State University.