Research tools

The majority of the North Carolina Collection’s book holdings and a portion of its holdings in other formats are cataloged in the UNC Library’s online catalog. This catalog includes records from all of the libraries within the University Library system at UNC-Chapel Hill. However, researchers looking only for materials in the NCC can limit their searches to the North Carolina Collection.

The North Carolina Collection has also compiled a variety of subject indexes, databases, and other tools to help you get started with your research.

Common Research Needs

Guides, Indexes, and Other Tools


The University Library provides access to numerous databases with North Carolina-related material. This includes material from newspapers, journals, and magazines, as well as Census data, digitized books, and more. Some databases may require a UNC Onyen or use at one of the UNC libraries.


Two extensive bibliographies of North Caroliniana relied heavily on materials in the North Carolina Collection: Mary L. Thornton’s A Bibliography of North Carolina, 1589-1956 (University of North Carolina Press, 1956) and H.G. Jones’s North Carolina History: An Annotated Bibliography (Greenwood Press, 1995).

Clipping Files

For more than 50 years, staff members with the North Carolina Collection have clipped articles about notable North Carolinians, important North Carolina places and events, and issues that affect the state’s citizens. Photocopies of these articles are organized alphabetically and bound in volumes. Many of these volumes include an index. The bound volumes are available in the Special Collections Research Room at Wilson Library. In addition to volumes with articles about notable North Carolinians (biographical clippings) and significant North Carolina topics (subject clippings), there are several volumes on special topics. Those topics include:


Documenting the American South (DocSouth) is a digital publishing initiative that provides Internet access to texts, images, and audio files related to southern history, literature, and culture. Currently DocSouth includes sixteen thematic collections of books, diaries, posters, artifacts, letters, oral history interviews, and songs.

North Carolina People, Places and Things

This search provides citations to books, pamphlets and newspaper clippings about people, places, businesses and issues that relate to North Carolina. This database contains citations to more than five hundred volumes of county, community and organizational histories. It also includes citations to bound volumes of clippings from newspapers and magazines—North Carolina Collection Biographical Clippings and North Carolina Collection Subject Clippings.

Online exhibits and digital collections

Many of the online exhibits on this site contain materials from the North Carolina Collection. These exhibits and digital collections are often good starting places for research projects, and many contain images of and references to important primary source materials.

This Month in North Carolina History

This Month in North Carolina History includes short sketches by North Carolina Collection staff tying significant events in North Carolina history to the month in which they occurred. The essays often include images from or links to North Carolina Collection material related to the event. Many of the sketches were written between 2005 and 2011. Staff still add essays, although with less frequency.

Talk Like a Tar Heel: North Carolina Place Names

Wondering how the locals say Bahama, Nantahala, or Yeopim? Author Bland Simpson, a native of the North Carolina coast, and poet Michael McFee, from the N.C. mountains, pronounce Tar Heel place names.

Topical research guides

These research guides, prepared by North Carolina Collection staff members and UNC-Chapel Hill students, provide handy starting points for research topics including textile mills, UNC history, and North Carolina during the Revolutionary War.