A Digital Gazetteer of North Carolina

UNC School of Information and Library Science, INLS 490-186, Spring 2021

Group project

Due May 15.

In addition to the design and implementation of the core gazetteer (which we will all work on together) you will work in a smaller group (3–5 people) on a project of your own design.

The project must contribute to or interoperate with the core gazetteer. It may also contribute to the use of some other set of resources related to North Carolina (but this is not required). Beyond that, the specific scope and shape of what you and your group choose to do is quite open.

Some examples of possible projects include:

  • Doing research into the representation of indigenous place names in the gazetteer and developing and carrying out a plan to improve it in some manner.

  • Doing the necessary research to add temporal information to some subset of place names, e.g. when towns were founded.

  • Adding relations among places, for example municipalities that split into separate municipalities, or municipalities that we annexed and absorbed by larger municipalities.

  • Doing archival research into census data or map collections to produce more detailed histories of the boundaries of administrative places.

  • Focusing on a specific place or region in North Carolina in order to improve and enrich its representation in the gazetteer.

  • Linking names of places in the natural environment (bodies of water, mountain features, forests, etc.) to external datasets about or related to those places.

The possibilities are endless, but as different as these projects are, all require understanding, discussing and resolving questions about

  1. how to represent places and their relations in nuanced but useful and manageable ways,

  2. what other resources (datasets, collections, literatures, courses, exhibits) might be integrated and interlinked with the gazetteer in useful or pleasurable ways, and

  3. how the gazetteer might beneficially mediate between the different communities around common places.

The deliverables for the group project will depend on the specific nature of the project. Halfway through the semester, each group will sign a contract specifying their deliverables and the division of labor.

Each group will give a presentation of what they’ve achieved during the last few (2–3, depending on how many projects there are) meetings.