Researchers in search of a story from a World War I-era Sentinel-Tribune used to have to physically go to the newspaper office on East Poe Road or to the Wood County District Public Library on Main Street.

Then the process starts of finding the right microfilm and hooking it onto the machine — let the scrolling begin.

In recognition of the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into WWI, the library has digitized four years of the Sentinel, which are now available online.

Now with just a search word and a mouse click, researchers can find a wealth of information.

From the Nov. 9, 1918, edition: “Charles D. Yonker, who is recovering from a long siege of sickness, has our soldier boys in mind at all times, and he comes forward with a suggestion which is a good one.

“He suggests that trees be planted along the Dixie Highway for each soldier who has died since leaving this city whether in the battlefield in hospital abroad or in the United States.”

On the front page of that day is news of two Bowling Green “boys” dying in action, and a Victory Girls campaign at the high school hoping to raise $500.

“The Sentinel does such a great job of recording the life of our community,” said Michele Raine, assistant director of the library.

“We are so excited to have this available,” she said at last month’s library trustees’ meeting.

The project digitized 47 rolls of microfilm for the Sentinel-Tribune and two other area newspapers for a cost of $4,500. The project was funded through the Lolita and Mearl Guthrie Foundation, Director Michael Penrod said.

The film digitized these years:

• 1914-1918 for the Sentinel-Tribune

• 1894-1954 (scattered holdings) for the Bradner Advocate (also called The Advocate)

• 1909-1958 (scattered holdings) for the Rising Sun Unique Weekly (also called Unique Derrick)

Raine pointed out that the library does offer the Sentinel-Tribune Newspaper Article Index: Articles of historical interest. This database provides partial indexing of the Sentinel from 1995 to the present.

However, a search on that site will give researchers a citation, or the day the story ran — not the article or the entire page like the WWI digitization does.

Penrod said he is reluctant to commit a lot of resources to digitizing newspapers.

He said the technology is not proven, unlike microfilm, which has been shown to withstand just about anything.

Online:

Headlines from Home: WWI Sentinel-Tribune Archive will debut to the public on Saturday at 10 a.m. in the First Floor Meeting Room of the Wood County District Public Library, 251 N. Main St.

This resource makes it possible for researchers to explore the library’s collection of World War I-era editions of Sentinel-Tribune newspapers, ranging from 1914-1918, while in the library or from home. These fully digitized editions of the paper provide unique insight to the impact of the “war to end all wars” on daily life in Wood County as chronicled by the Sentinel’s photos, cartoon, articles and advertisements.

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