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Millionth page of historic newspapers posted on Web

Library of Congress, National Endowment for the Humanities mark project milestone

Posted: June 16, 2009 11:20 a.m.
Updated: June 16, 2009 1:43 p.m.
 
The Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities today marked a major milestone in their partnership to digitize historic U.S. newspapers and make them widely available to the public on the Internet.

During an event held at the Newseum, Deanna Marcum, Associate Librarian for Library Services at the Library of Congress, announced that the Chronicling America website (chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/) - a free, national, searchable database of historic American newspaper pages published between 1880 and 1922 - recently posted its millionth page.

Launched by the NEH and the Library of Congress in March 2007, Chronicling America is a part of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), a partnership between the two agencies to provide enhanced access to historically significant United States newspapers.

NEH Acting Chairman Carole M. Watson announced grant awards to seven new NDNP state projects during the event, as well. New state partners in Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon, and South Carolina will select historically important newspapers published in their respective states and oversee the digitization of those newspapers for posting to the Chronicling America website.

"Newspapers not only chronicle the daily life of our citizens in thousands of towns and cities, but also document the civic, legal, historical, and cultural events in every state and region. These stories, taken together, help to illuminate the history of our nation," said Watson. "Chronicling America is a free, national, digital resource that builds on more than 20 years of collaboration between the NEH and LC to preserve and make accessible the content of millions of pages of historically important American newspapers, first by microfilming and now by digitization."

"We are pleased to continue our work with the NEH and our state partners in applying 21st-century digital technology to the challenge of making this rich historical resource freely available today and for the future," said Deanna Marcum, Associate Librarian for Library Services at the Library of Congress.

The seven new NDNP awardees announced today are: University of Illinois, Urbana; Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka; Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge; Montana Historical Society, Helena; Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City; University of Oregon, Eugene; and University of South Carolina, Columbia. They join the existing 15 state partners in Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington. A detailed list with information about today's award recipients, including grant amounts, is available in a one-page PDF at loc.gov/pressroom/.

This online resource will eventually contain 20 million pages of historic American newspapers from 1836 to 1922, and in addition to the digitized pages, Chronicling America offers educational essays on every title represented and a directory of all newspapers published in the United States from 1690 to the present.

In celebration of the milestone, Marcum announced that the Library has uploaded to its popular Flickr site 52 images from weekly 1909 editions of the New York Tribune's illustrated Sunday supplement. The richly illustrated supplements were printed at a time when the use of the halftone technique was still relatively novel in newspapers.

The site includes links to high-resolution images at persistent URLs on Chronicling America. Additional images will be added in coming weeks. More information and a link to the new Flickr set can be found at loc.gov/blog/?p=552.

For the Newseum event, the University of Kentucky produced a brief film, which provided an overview of the digitization process. Following the video presentation, Dr. Henry Snyder, Director of the Center for Bibliographical Studies and Research and project director for the California Digital Newspaper Project, University of California at Riverside, discussed the importance of historical newspapers and their ability to document the day-by-day history of our nation.

"Newspapers are the most important printed record of the history of our country at the local, state and national level. Now in a single search, users can dive into a million pages on the Chronicling America webpage and surface at the pages that contain the history of our past in real time," Snyder said.

The Library of Congress, the nation's oldest federal cultural institution, is the world's preeminent reservoir of knowledge. Founded in 1800, the Library seeks to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to its magnificent collections. Many of the Library's rich resources and treasures may also be accessed through the Library's award-winning website, loc.gov, and via interactive exhibitions at myLOC.gov.

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities. NEH grants enrich classroom learning, create and preserve knowledge, and bring ideas to life through public television, radio, new technologies, exhibitions, and programs in libraries, museums, and other community places.

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