Vermont digital newspaper project: From reel to real


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Presenter: Birdie MacLennan, University of Vermont
In June 2010, the University of Vermont (UVM) Libraries was awarded funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to support the Vermont Digital Newspaper Project (VTDNP) as part of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) developed by NEH and the Library of Congress. The Project has selected, digitized, and made available nearly 130,000 pages of Vermont newspapers published between 1836 and 1922. The digitized newspapers are freely available to the public via the Library of Congress' Chronicling America database. The UVM Libraries work collaboratively with partners at the Vermont Department of Libraries in Montpelier, and the Ilsley Public Library in Middlebury, who form the core of the Project planning and management group activities. Presenters will give an overview of VTDNP from planning stages and implementation, to creation of metadata and the transformation of microfilmed newspapers into online searchable content.

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Vermont digital newspaper project: From reel to real

  1. 1. Tom McMurdo Birdie MacLennan Project Librarian Project DirectorUniversity of Vermont University of Vermont North American Serials Interest Group 27th Annual Conference Nashville, Tennessee June 8, 2012
  2. 2. Birdie MacLennan Project DirectorUniversity of Vermont Nashville, Tennessee June 8, 2012
  3. 3. a partnership between theThe National Endowment for the Humanities & The Library of Congress State Projects A long-term, national effort to develop a freely-accessible, Internet-based, searchable database of U.S. newspapers with descriptive information and select digitization of historical titles chosen and digitized by NEH-funded institutions from all U.S. states and territories.
  4. 4. US Newspaper Program (1982-2007) Build on efforts of the and the Vermont Newspaper Project (1996-2001) to locate, catalog & preserve on microfilm“at risk” newspapers from the 18th century to the present
  5. 5. • NEH offers two-year awards to states to select and digitize VT historically significant titles published between 1836 and 1922.• Library of Congress provides technical support & guidelines.• Newspaper content aggregated and permanently maintained by the Library of Congress on Chronicling America website. • Vermont awarded funding in June 2010; the 25th state – 1st in New England - to join the NDNP.
  6. 6. • Phase I: June 2010 – August 31, 2012 (2 years)• Statewide collaboration to select, digitize, and make available to the Library of Congress 100,000 pages of Vermont newspapers published between 1836 and 1922 from microfilm collections in Vermont.• Content hosted on Chronicling America website at the Library of Congress; freely available (see: Vermont list ) 4.8 million pages, May 2012.
  7. 7. University of Vermont, Burlington project home base, proposal r&d, digital infrastructure, state newspaper database, USNP partnerIlsley Public Library, Middlebury proposal research & developmentDepartment of Libraries, MontpelierState Library, central newspaper repository,proposal r&d, USNP partnerVermont Historical Society, Barre, NHMontpelier – Advisory, USNP partner Project Planning Group Core Member Institutions 11 - Diverse state engagement
  8. 8. • Project Planning Group (6 members)• State-wide Advisory Committee (12 members) - archivists, librarians, journalists, historians, researchers - applies selection criteria for digitization: - Papers “of record” - Research value (representative of history) - Geographical coverage - Extended run - Availability & quality of master microfilm negatives• Promotion, Outreach, Educational component
  9. 9. • Summer 2009 – Research, Planning - NDNP requirements - Title availability / Microfilm - Infrastructure / Support• Fall 2009 – Developing partnerships - Cohesive Planning Group  Lead institution / Host site University of Vermont  Cost-share commitments Department of Libraries Ilsley Public Library - Advisory Committee (if funded …)• November 2009 – Proposal submitted• June 2010 – Funding awarded
  10. 10. Identify master negatives / Collaborative titleselection (with Advisory Committee)Files for each original page or target on microfilmreels, including: TIFF, PDF, JPEG2000, OCR output(ALTO XML schema) and metadata files to conformto NDNP guidelines.  Title essays (500 words)Technical analysis of microfilm (reduction ratio,skew, density, duplicate pages, targets, sequencing,etc.) & Metadata collation (frame-by-frame orpage-by-page inspection of microfilm)Cataloging record updates in CONSER/OCLCdatabases and provision of links to digital content.Updates to local libraries records and VTNewspaper Project database.
  11. 11. • July 2010 – Accounting infrastructure established• August 2010 – National search launched for Project Librarian• Sept. 2010 – Project communication tool established using Basecamp Project Management software Basecamp features: - Messaging - File-sharing - Calendar - To-do lists, etc. - New projects, as needed
  12. 12. Fall 2010 … Project Management Group • Advisory Committee Briefing Book (based on Minnesota model) - Project information / scope - Title selection criteria (NDNP guidelines) - Vermont historical timelines/events - Articulation of outreach/educational goals beyond selection• Title list analysis - 500+ titles (VTNP/USNP local database) - breakdowns by county - analysis of holdings (completeness of copy) - inquiries for master negatives• Request for Proposals (RFP) for Digitization Provider
  13. 13. Jan 2011 – Project Librarian, Tom McMurdo, joins VTDNPFeb-Mar 2011 – List of master negatives obtained from VSARA - Vermont State Archives & Record Administration (held by: Department of Libraries) Montpelier – preservation microfilm collections  Cross-referenced with titles and holdings from (spreadsheet of titles identified w/in scope of grant proposal)  Reel and page count estimates  Identification of 59 titles/title families from all of Vermont’s 14 counties); ~a million pages!
  14. 14. Jan-Feb 2011 – Advisory Committee corresponds on Basecamp  Face-to-face meeting postponed due to snow  Project historian / Vermont history librarian shares preliminary title research from master list  Ranking form distributedFeb-Mar 2011 – Project Management Group  identifies 1 sample title on a compact reel (USNP film) Production starts… Sample reel sent to vendors to convert for RFP response.  two major titles with lengthy runs selected for production queue (available from State Archives) Lead time needed for frame-by- frame microfilm inspection and metadata collation
  15. 15. Title Ranking Form - Excel sheet/ranking form for Advisory Committee – includes NDNP selection criteria (based on Pennsylvania template)
  16. 16. • Advisory Committee Selections: 12 titles from 10 (of 14) counties • Positive working relationships  Generated state-wide energy & enthusiasm for project Contact with Vermont and New England Press Associations Potential for further outreach (historians, genealogists, schools) • Digitization vendors evaluated; selection made: iArchives3 Catalogers/Metadata Professionals engaged to launch production (.3 FTE)Digital Support Specialist hired (half-time)
  17. 17. Microfilm Inspection Tom McMurdo inspects master negatives.Lab set-up - Densitometer - Light table - Microscope - Film loup - White gloves - Some paper-to-microfilm conversion? . Microfilming preparation.
  18. 18. Digital Preparation / Metadata Collation - Dell workstation - 24” monitor - Microfilm reader (ScanPro 2000) - 1 TB Hard Drives (Western Digital) - Shipping cases (Pelican –durable) - Project Back-up storage (6 TB)
  19. 19. 12 title families in10 of Vermont’s 14 counties
  20. 20. First title / Sample reel …Title Selections 19th century bannners
  21. 21.
  22. 22. The day book (Chicago, Ill.), Apr. 2, 1912
  23. 23. Catalog record updates!(OCLC - CONSER, VTDNPdatabase, local state catalogs) sn84023255/issues/
  24. 24. “The only historical remains in theUnited States are the newspapers: If Press innovationa number be wanting, the chain oftime is broken and the present issevered from the past.” Thanks -- Alexis de Tocqueville Democracy in America for watching!