Libraries Lead in Newspaper Digitization

Contact: Whitney Hale

 

""

The University of Kentucky has long been a national leader in the preservation of Kentucky newspapers. In 1981, the UK Libraries became one of the first five institutions to receive NEH funding for participation in the United States Newspaper Program to collect, catalog, and microfilm historic Kentucky newspapers across the state.

""

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 13, 2005) -- The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded $310,000 to the University of Kentucky Libraries for its participation in the first phase of an NEH and Library of Congress program to digitize 20,000,000 pages from U.S. newspapers in the public domain.

UK’s Libraries are among only six institutions in the country receiving funding for this program.

"We are pleased and honored that UK Libraries was selected as one of the first participants in this national endeavor. This program will provide online access to the rich history reflected in Kentucky newspapers," said Carol Pitts Diedrichs, dean of Libraries.

In the first two-year phase of the program, the UK Libraries will be focusing on digitizing more than 100,000 pages from Kentucky newspapers published from 1900 to 1910. During the term of the grant, UK and the other five institutions will be developing processes that will be used by other libraries in subsequent phases of the program.

NEH Chairman Bruce Cole said to the National Press Corps in November 2004 when announcing the program, “These old papers give us an eyewitness view of history. You can go to their pages and read about weddings and births, about McGuffey spellers for sale, about gossip, about what people were eating and drinking, about almost everything. Newspapers give us glimpses of the economic, political, commercial, and social dimensions of our country. They give us a view that at the same time offers the details and the panorama.”

UK ’s participation will be led by Rebecca Ryder, head of Preservation Services; Eric Weig, head of Digital Programs; and Mary Molinaro, the director of Preservation and Digital Programs and UK’s principle investigator for the program.  

The University of Kentucky has long been a national leader in the preservation of Kentucky newspapers. In 1981, the UK Libraries became one of the first five institutions to receive NEH funding for participation in the United States Newspaper Program to collect, catalog, and microfilm historic Kentucky newspapers across the state.

After an initial planning period, UK Libraries conducted the Kentucky Newspaper Project (KNP) from 1983 to 1991. During that period, more than 4,000 institutions were surveyed, 500 repositories were visited and 5,000 titles were cataloged. Many institutions either donated hard copy holdings to compile complete backfiles of historic newspapers. During the KNP, more than 1.5 million pages of newspapers were microfilmed.

The National Digital Newspaper Program continues this work as the content of the nation’s newspapers becomes fully searchable to the citizenry via the Internet on the Library of Congress’ Web site. Additionally, the Kentucky portion of the program will be available on the Kentuckiana Digital Library online.

Additional information on the National Newspaper Digitization Program is available on the NEH Web site. To learn more about the University of Kentucky Libraries’ participation, go online.


Back to Campus News Homepage