[Loscho_enews] Fwd: Newspaper digitization

Snocoheritage snocoheritage at gmail.com
Sat Nov 13 09:48:50 PST 2010

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: <abbott1912 at aol.com>
Date: Fri, Nov 12, 2010 at 5:56 AM
Subject: Newspaper digitization
To: info at snocoheritage.org
Cc: paulj at smalltownpapers.com

 Hello League,

Our old newspapers provide an incredible amount of insight and information
into our local  history, but even when we have them bound and preserved,
accessing them can be very difficult and prone to damage.  Many of you know
that the Granite Falls Historical Society decided to have their old editions
scanned by a company called SmallTownPapers, Inc. of Seattle.   It took us a
while to get started - among other things, we had never really completed an
accurate inventory.  However, we finally got things underway, and expect to
have the digitization finished by the Dec 15th deadline for grant
expenditure reimbursement.  Our initial 2800 pages have been returned to us
(we have almost 8000 pages total), and the results are quite remarkable.
The improvement in readability over the microfilm we have is at least  5 to
1 (maybe better).  The pictures in the paper are now completely preserved,
not relegated to black-and-white blobs.  The resolution of the scans
provides images that are precise duplications of the original, with the
added benefit of being able to "zoom" to read them much more easily than the
originals.  The images are organized and numbered in such a way that one can
instantly locate a specific issue and page, just by looking at the folder
and file names.

Our project also entails running these images through Optical Character
Recognition (OCR) software, which wil convert the images into actual text
that is word-searchable.  Using keywords or names, we will be able to locate
specific articles precisely, without searching  entire months or years of
issues (although that can be fun, it sure sucks up time).  Despite my
initial trepidation regarding how well the OCR might work, I can see from
the images that it should provide a very high degree of conversion to text,
with minimal missing words or articles.  We did not unbind our papers, so
there is some minimal loss near the bound edge, but it is truly minimal.
That could be entirely eliminated if one were to unbind the issues.

We will provide a final report for the League of Heritage Organizations, but
I wanted to offer this good news now, since most of you are likely budgeting
for next year and planning grant requests.  For more detailed information on
the services available, you can contact:

Paul Jeffko
SmallTownPapers, Inc.
5026 California Avenue SW
Seattle, WA 98136

If you'd like an example taken from our own papers, let me know, but the
high-resolution images are in .tif format, and comprise large files for
email.  The Granite Falls Historical Museum is looking forward to opening
access to a wealth of local information, since we have all papers starting
in 1923.  We certainly wish we had earlier issues from Granite Falls,
Silverton, and Monte Cristo but none of those happen to be in our

Best regards,

One thing he did not talk about is how much work they did on copyright
clearance for this company.
To make comparisons - Please see other historical newspaper digitizing
projects throughout the state and by the Washington State Library on this
http://www.ci.burlington.wa.us/imageuploads/Media-3306.pdf  (this list is
out of date already but gives you an idea)
Also for some competition, one company I know of doing the same thing is
NewspaperArchive.com .  They recently sent a special offer to the Stanwood
Area Historical Society offering to do them for free for a limited time.
Karen Prasse
League of Snohomish County Heritage Organizations
info at snocoheritage.org
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.snocoheritage.org/pipermail/loscho_enews-snocoheritage.org/attachments/20101113/6dc216a4/attachment.htm>

More information about the Loscho_Enews mailing list