Digital newspaper collection adds pages, titles and newer papers; collects award
Ten years ago, the University of Oregon Libraries were at a turning point. They had served for more than half century as the official repository for the state’s newspapers and accumulated hundreds of newspaper titles. Many had been microfilmed. But microfilming was becoming expensive and the public was beginning to demand online digitized newspapers.
Out of that moment came the Oregon Digital Newspaper Program.
Since going live in December 2010, the Oregon Digital Newspapers website has drawn more than 6.6 million views from more than 350,000 visitors in 196 countries. The site currently hosts more than 140 titles from more than 60 cities across Oregon.
The website contains more than 740,000 pages of content. The newspapers are primarily from the period before 1923 due to copyright restrictions. These include the state’s first agricultural and African American newspapers.
In addition, by working with two dozen local organizations, governments and businesses it also includes digitized versions of other community newspapers.
Most important, each page is word searchable.
The Oregon Digital Newspaper Program is always changing, too. It helped develop the Library of Congress software for viewing digitized newspaper content online. Last year, it began providing digital access to current newspapers as opposed to microfilm access.
With the recent introduction of Common Core standards in K-12 classrooms, the digital newspaper project has increased its outreach to students and teachers with new lesson plans and other educational resources. The project also publishes a blog.
The UOs’s cooperative, ground-breaking efforts to create the Oregon Digital Newspaper Project and increase public access to important historic documents resulted last month in an Oregon Heritage Excellence Award.
Last month, program director Sheila Rabun also was interviewed by Jefferson Public Radio