UNT Known for Making Information Accessible in the Digital Age
During a visit to her small East Texas hometown, Cathy Hartman, associate dean for the University of North Texas Libraries, was surprised to learn from a fellow restaurant customer that he had seen the 1924 teaching contract of her aunt, Pearl Vinson.
The document, preserved online on UNT’s Portal to Texas History, stated that Vinson would teach for seven months at Cross Roads Elementary in Cass County, receiving $85 per month.
The teaching contract is more than just history for Hartman’s family. It’s an example of the primary source materials from libraries, museums, archives and private donors that provide portal users with glimpses of past life in Texas.
“Unless you could travel all over the state, you wouldn’t be able to see all of these items, especially since some of the smaller libraries’ and museums’ collections aren’t widely publicized. Even if they had the content on their websites, chances are it wouldn’t show up in the first 100 pages of a search engine hit list,” Hartman says. “But the portal, which has more than 6 million visitors per year, is indexed by Google and all other search engines. Its content is generally at the top of the results page.”
Photo by Michael Clements