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The Digital Innovation Lab (DIL) at UNC-Chapel Hill began working with the Khayrallah Program for Lebanese-American Studies at North Carolina State University two years ago to map the migration and settlement of hundreds of families in North Carolina cities a century ago from what is now Lebanon, but was then a part of the Ottoman Empire.

The idea grew out of a casual conversation between Robert Allen, professor of American studies and director of the Digital Innovation Lab, and John Blythe, a staff member of the North Carolina Collection, whose mother’s family was a part of that immigration story.

The Digital Innovation Lab is based in the Department of American studies in the UNC College of Arts and Sciences.

The digital mapping project, Mapping Early NC Lebanese Households, is part of the North Carolina Museum of History’s “Cedars in the Pines – The Lebanese in North Carolina: 130 Years of History” exhibit. The project involved more than a dozen students in two Digital Innovation Lab-linked graduate seminars, hundreds of hours of labor by undergraduate and graduate research assistants, a technology collaboration with UNC’s Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) and significant enhancements of the lab’s digital humanities software platform, DH Press. (The Digital Innovation Lab recently received a national award for developing DH Press).

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March 25, 2014.