Contact: David Hiscoe, NCSU Libraries, (919) 513-3425
(Raleigh, NC)—The Digital Scholarship and Publishing Center and the Digital Library Initiatives group at the North Carolina State University Libraries have been honored with the Gertrude S. Carraway Award of Merit by Preservation North Carolina for publication of Architects and Builders of North Carolina, an online biographical dictionary of the men and women who shaped the state’s architectural culture and heritage. According to the award, the site “has quickly become a go-to resource for preservationists throughout the state” in the six months since it has been available on the web.
Preservation North Carolina, North Carolina’s only private nonprofit statewide historic preservation organization, was founded in 1939 to protect and promote buildings, landscapes and sites key to the heritage of North Carolina. Each year since 1975, Preservation North Carolina has presented the Gertrude S. Carraway Awards to people and groups that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to promoting historic preservation. The awards are named to honor the late Dr. Gertrude Carraway of New Bern, a leader in reconstructing the state’s colonial capitol, Tryon Palace, in New Bern.
The standard scholarly work on North Carolina architects and builders has long been Architects and Builders in North Carolina: a History of the Practice of Building (University of North Carolina Press, 1990), by Catherine W. Bishir, Charlotte V. Brown, Carl R. Lounsbury, and Ernest H. Wood III. The authors originally intended to complement it with an authoritative biographical dictionary on the architects, builders, and artisans of the state. When Catherine Bishir turned renewed attention to the project in the last decade, she explains that “the project underwent a serendipitous paradigm shift,” as she began to imagine the transformational way that scholarly, collaborative publishing could be done on the Internet.
Combining the expertise of over forty authors with the NCSU Libraries’ leadership in digital publishing and with collections from numerous state and national cultural institutions, the web site provides extensive biographical accounts, building lists, and bibliographical information about architects, builders, and other artisans who planned and built North Carolina’s architecture.
Unlike traditionally published scholarly works of the past, the web site will continue to grow on a regular basis as scholars extend and expand their work. At launch, the site covers approximately 170 North Carolina professionals and 1500 buildings. But because it is an online resource, it can continuously be updated as the scholars working on it add new entries–future-proofing the resource and demonstrating one of the powerful advantages of online publishing of reference and research materials.
“I am completely delighted at the recognition that North Carolina Architects and Builders has garnered,” says Susan Nutter, vice provost and director of the NCSU Libraries. “This signature project highlights the great work of our faculty, and we are happy to see the NCSU Libraries’ technical prowess and the strengths of our Special Collections in architecture and design go to such good use. It is a pleasure to build something so useful to those—both scholars and the general public—who love the architecture and the culture of North Carolina.”