Expanding access to historical content

In August of 2013, the UF George A Smathers Libraries received a $325,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to digitize 100,000 pages of historic newspapers. The UF libraries are working in conjunction with the library system at the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras to participate in the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), a program created from a partnership between the NEH and the Library of Congress. As part of our participation in the program we are digitizing newspapers from both Florida and Puerto Rico that were published between 1836 and 1922. With this session I hope to inform you of what the project entails, the overall process, as well as update you on our progress thus far.

Categories: Archives, Libraries, Open Access, Project Management |

About Melissa Jerome

I am the Project Coordinator for the Florida & Puerto Rico Digital Newspaper Project. The George A. Smathers Libraries received an NEH grant to digitize historic newspapers, from Florida & Puerto Rico, that are on aging microfilm. The grant was awarded as part of the National Digital Newspaper Program, an initiative to digitize newspapers published in the US and its territories between 1690-1963 and will be made available for free online access. As Project Coordinator, I am responsible for all the day-to-day activities for this grant.

2 Responses to Expanding access to historical content

  1. I’d be interested in knowing how you all are thinking of potential users and uses of these newspapers as you plan the digitization process. How will people want to interact with them, and what does technology afford?

  2. Melissa Espino says:

    All of our digitized material is uploaded to Chronicling America, a database created by the Library of Congress, and is accessible by the public for free. This project helps make content on aging microfilm more readily available and allows users to view the content more easily. Tools on Chronicling America allows patrons to browse by date, state, and is word-searchable which allows patrons to search for a specific topic of interest.
    I think our project is used by a variety of people, may it be genealogist looking for information or a loved ones obituary, historians doing research on a specific event, or anyone simply interested in viewing historical content. With our project we not only preserve the content on aging microfilm, but we also help people such as these easily access material, saving them from spending countless hours browsing through microfilm at microfilm machines or from having to travel to specific institutions where certain content may be found.

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