Digital Durham: Past, Present, Future (2017-2018)

The Digital Durham archive project, which began in 1999, aims to foster awareness of the complexity of Durham communities and lay bare the city’s experience of industrialization and segregation to demonstrate how that history shapes the present and the future. The project also promotes the thoughtful and responsible use of information technology to share and interpret historical documents. With its twentieth anniversary in sight, project leaders decided the time was right to revisit this foundational resource and build it up for the future.

This project team contributed to that effort by updating the Digital Durham infrastructure and enhancing the depth and breadth of the site’s archival resources. The team moved the existing site to a new content management system and enhanced the available archival resources by conducting research in Duke’s archives on materials relating to Durham’s history, with a particular focus on the African American experience.

The team provided digitized images, metadata and TEI transcriptions for rare materials, including nineteenth-century business ledgers and tax lists, city maps, correspondence and photographs, and completed digital projects on topics ranging from public education in Durham to African American business ownership to nineteenth-century elections.

The team also developed educational modules based on Digital Durham materials for use in AP US History courses in the three-week slot following the AP exams.


Summer 2017 – Spring 2018

Team Outcomes

The Development of Public Education: Connecting the U.S. to North Carolina to Durham (digital timeline by Moran Hersch; winner of 2018 Winfred Quinton Holton Prize for Innovative Work in the Field of Education)

Black Businesses in Durham, North Carolina: 1860-1920 (infographic by Edom Tilahun, Kristel Black)

Civil Rights Tour of Durham (virtual tour featured on Duke Explore mobile app by Molly Carmody and Victoria Lasarte)

Team Website

Digital Durham: Past, Present, Future (poster by Trudi Abel, Victoria Szabo, Naomi Kraut, Brian Norberg, Joel Herndon, Courtney Hissong, Leanora Minai, Claire Xiao, Jo Kwon, Kira Xie, and the Digital Durham Class Team), presented at Bass Connections Showcase, April 18, 2018

This project team was originally part of the Education & Human Development theme of Bass Connections, which ended in 2022. This project was selected by the Franklin Humanities Institute as a humanities-connected project.

Voters of Durham

Team Leaders

  • Trudi Abel, Duke Libraries
  • Victoria Szabo, Arts & Sciences-Art, Art History, and Visual Studies

/graduate Team Members

  • Courtney Hissong, Liberal Studies-AM
  • Jo Kwon, Digital Art Hist/Comp Media-AM
  • Leanora Minai, Liberal Studies-AM
  • Shiqi Xie, Digital Art Hist/Comp Media-AM

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Helen Healey, Visual and Media Studies (AB)
  • Philip Moss, Computer Science (AB)
  • Claire Xiao, Statistical Science (BS)

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Joel Herndon, Duke Libraries
  • Hannah Jacobs, Arts & Sciences-Art, Art History, and Visual Studies
  • Naomi Kraut, Arts & Sciences-Program in Education
  • Brian Norberg, Arts & Sciences

/zcommunity Team Members

  • Museum of Durham History
  • Bob Panoff, Shodor Foundation