|
|
|
|
The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Leavenworth’s history preserved in online project

  • The past is meeting the future as 19th century issues of the Leavenworth Weekly Times are being scanned and archived along with other historic newspapers on a wesbite maintained by the Library of Congress.

     


    • email print
  • The past is meeting the future as 19th century issues of the Leavenworth Weekly Times are being scanned and archived along with other historic newspapers on a wesbite maintained by the Library of Congress.
    The Kansas Historical Society announced this week that some issues of the Times from 1870 to 1880 are already uploaded to the Chronicling America website at chroniclingamerica.loc.gov, along with other late 1880s papers from throughout the state.
    According to Michael Church, coordinator of digital initiatives at the Kansas Historical Society, the state was offered a federal grant as part of the National Digital Newspaper Program, the National Endowment for the Humanities’ project to digitize newspaper archives. This is the first time since the project started in 2005 Kansas has received the grant and Church said about 25 other states have participated in the past.
    He said in the 1980s, newspapers across the country were preserved on microfilm as part of a similar federal project, with Kansas eventually archiving about 70,000 rolls, or roughly 13 million pages, of historic newspapers.
    “The next step is this program, which is to take that microfilm and digitize it,” Church said.
    By June this year, he said the state historical society are to have some 100,000 newspaper pages digitized and turned over to the LOC. Church said the process starts with an advisory board that chooses which papers to digitize. Titles chosen represent the newspaper of record and come from each of six regions in the state.
    After a review of the microfilm to ensure the pages are readable, Church said historical society staff begins by compiling meta-data for each slide, eventually sending off the slides to a vendor who actually scans the pages using a character recognition software, making the online text searchable by keyword.
    “That’s the real big advantage,” he said.
    The completed scans are then handed over to the Library of Congress to upload onto the website.
    Church said this round of newspapers were chosen mostly for their coverage of the Civil War in honor of the 150th anniversary of Kansas statehood this year.
    Browsing through the issues of the Leavenworth Weekly Times from 1870 to 1880, he said those interested can also find information on the Exoduster movement and the state’s push toward prohibition.
    Church said he hopes to continue the process in the future. Under the federal program, he said states are eligible for grant funding for two or three years before they are weaned off in the hopes that they find other sources of funding to continue.
    “We’re trying to create collaborative partnerships with other institutions throughout the state,” he said, in order to keep the project going and archive more communities’ historic newspapers.
    To that end, Church said Kansas is fortunate to own most of the microfilm from the previous archive project as well as the negative slides.
    Page 2 of 2 - Still, 100,000 newspaper pages amounts to about 100 rolls of microfilm — and Church said there are about 70,000 rolls of that microfilm for the state of Kansas. It’s a lot of work, but he said he for one thinks continuing is worthwhile to preserve some of the information for which local newspapers have in the past been the only source.
    “Kansas newspapers are the most thorough document of our state’s political, social, and cultural history and digitizing them gives us an unprecedented opportunity to rediscover our state and national heritage through the perspective of our local communities,” Church said.
      • calendar