BGSU archivist helps preserve newspapers PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff   
Monday, 24 May 2010 10:54
Steve Charter, head librarian and archivist at Center for Collections at BGSU. 5/5/10 (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
PERRYSBURG - One of Wood County's oldest newspapers is getting the digital treatment.
The Perrysburg Journal is among the first Ohio newspapers to be digitized and uploaded to the Library of Congress' Chronicling America Web site.
The Journal is one of 13 Ohio newspapers to be so chosen as part of the Ohio Newspaper Digitization Project, a portion of the National Digital Newspaper Program developed by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress.
It will enable the Ohio Historical Society to digitize 100,000 Ohio newspaper pages dating the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
"The initial project for Ohio was for newspapers that covered the time period between 1880 and 1922," said Stephen Charter, head of archival collections at Bowling Green State University, who serves on the advisory board of the Ohio project. "And they wanted newspapers that were continuous and they had a pretty substantial length of run." A number of additional criteria, including geographical representation, went into choosing which papers would be digitized first.
"I was kind of a driving force for getting the Perrysburg Journal in there," since it covered the Northwest Ohio area in such an early period, he said. The Perrysburg Journal was first published as the Fort Meigs Reveille in 1844, then changed it name to the Perrysburg Star in June, 1851 and then became the Perrysburg Journal in March, 1853. It is currently published as the Perrysburg Messenger Journal.
The center "provided the master microfilm so that they could be digitized and mounted on the Web and converted and so forth."
"We do have some original copies of the newspaper, bound volumes," Charter said.
Not all newspapers initially chosen for digitization made the final cut.
"They had to make sure that the original microfilms were in good condition," Charter said. After the board had selected some titles, they discovered that their respective microfilms were in poor condition, and so had to find other publications that still adhered to a similar time period and region of coverage.
The first edition of the Perrysburg Journal. 5/5/10 (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
While the project, which began in 2007, is currently focusing on a roughly 40-year span of newspaper coverage, the plan is to reach back and include newspapers dating back as far as 1836 in the next 20 years.
"I think it's a wonderful project because it provides access to early Ohio newspapers and national newspapers" free of charge. Once digitized, the periodicals are full-text searchable, meaning any name or phrase can be entered and searched within the newspaper.
"It makes newspapers more accessible, widely accessible," said Charter, and is superior to the original volumes because of their crumbling condition.
"It's a way to get those things out to other people all over the place, a wide audience."
All of the 13 newspapers planned for digitization will be uploaded to the Library of Congress's Chronicling America Web site over the next year. The other Ohio publications include: the Marion Daily Mirror; Marion Democratic Mirror; Akron Daily Democrat; Stark County Democrat; Knox County Democratic Banner, in Mount Vernon; Springfield Republic, in Springfield; Hillsboro News-Herald; Hocking Sentinel, in Logan; Ohio Democrat, in Logan, and also the Ohio Democrat-Sentinel; Marietta Leader, in Marietta; and the Mahoning Dispatch, in Canfield.
The Web site is located at

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