DENTON (UNT), Texas — The Portal to Texas History, administered by the University of North Texas Libraries, has received the Wayne Williams Library Project of the Year Award from the Texas Library Association.
The award, the only cash award presented by the association, recognizes a project that exemplifies the highest levels of achievement, professional standards and inspiration to other libraries. Martin Halbert, dean of the UNT Libraries, accepted the award April 25 during the association’s annual conference in Fort Worth.
The Portal to Texas History was created in 2002 by the UNT Libraries’ Digital Projects Unit to provide online access to books, photographs, artifacts, maps, newspapers, letters, and other historic materials from more than 200 archives, historical societies, small and large libraries, museums and private collections from all areas of Texas. With more than 3.3 million pages of materials, the portal incudes many primary source historical materials, such as diaries and personal accounts of events and daily life. Browsers of the portal use these materials to learn history from the perspectives of those who lived it.
The portal also includes a Resources for Educators section, which provides history lessons for elementary and middle school students that are compliant with Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills standards, as well as teacher resources and services and downloadable Texas History Trading Cards. In 2008, the portal was chosen as one of the best online resources for education in the humanities by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
In February, the UNT Libraries celebrated one million pages of historical Texas newspapers being available on the portal. Beginning in 2007, the libraries received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities to digitize pages of Texas newspapers for the National Digital Newspaper Program, "Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers." UNT was one of eight U.S. universities, and the only one from Texas, to receive the funding. During the past five years, the UNT Libraries received more than $2.4 million in funding to digitize the newspapers.
In addition to the Wayne Williams Library Project of the Year Award, the UNT Libraries received two TLA PR Branding Iron Awards, which recognize public relations activities conducted by staff members at libraries and library organizations.
The UNT Libraries received the Branding Iron’s “Best of Show” distinction for 2013 based on its nine submissions to the contest. “Best in Show” is awarded for the best comprehensive approach to public relations planning and activities. The UNT Libraries received the top awards for its Identity Guide and for its Liaisons In the Stacks posters, which promote the libraries’ campaign to connect students with librarians who specialize in the students’ field of study. Posters picturing the librarians, with their contact information, are placed in the book stacks for the librarians’ specializations. The posters include QR bar codes to link students to online resources for certain subjects.
About the Texas Library Association
The Texas Library Association is a nonprofit, educational organization formed in 1902 to promote library service in Texas. Its mission includes the development and maintenance of library services which will meet the informational, cultural, educational and recreational needs of the citizens of Texas. The 7,300 members of the association include school, public, academic and special librarians, as well as library supporters
About the UNT Libraries
The UNT Libraries has been nationally and internationally recognized for its emphasis on digital preservation. In 2012, the UNT Libraries was ranked among the top 20 institutional digital repositories in the world in the latest Ranking Web of World Depositories measurement by the Cybermetrics Lab, a research group of the Spanish National Research Council. The UNT Libraries was also named one of 10 affiliated archives of the National Archives and Records Administration for creating vital government-related digital collections, including the CyberCemetery, which houses accumulated information from defunct agency web sites