Digital preservation- A time travel for historical newspapers.

Over the years, people store and preserve various old newspapers or clipping that mark events they experienced, were involved in or events that were of some significant historical importance.

Some might keep a copy of the newspaper that published the day World War II ended, or the day the Great Migration happened, or perhaps a bit less monumental, a clipping from when someone changed their name or the opening of a shop announced in the local news. Preserving old newspapers and clippings is a timeless way to preserve important incidents that transformed the world into what we see it as today.

Yet these same newspapers and clippings are very fragile artifacts, and they deteriorate over time if not properly stored. The best way however, to store historical newspapers is by converting them into digital format. Since the advent of digital media, many institutions across the world have begun to digitize them and make the digital files publicly available.

Here are some of the reasons why digitization of historical newspapers is critical:

1. Excellent source of education

Newspapers contain very diverse information in topics such as politics, technology, scientific research and cultural disciplines and hence, act as an excellent source of education.

As newspapers do not demand an overly substantial historical knowledge and are chronologically structured, these considerably are the best materials for an investigation or a research project. Besides documenting the history of knowledge and information delivery, reading newspaper is also an efficient training for information competence.

2. Easily readable material

Today’s readers are more acquainted to consuming the short texts of articles because of our contemporary reading habits. Newspapers are an easy-to-read material for the broader public, although readers and researchers today are more capable of dealing with various topics and a multitude of information in succinct pieces of text.

Thus, digitizing them actually benefits users across the globe to access and learn about different events.

3. Linguistic projects

Vocabulary of a specific community can always be traced from the newspapers of their times thus leading way to bigger linguistic projects to understand the language from a specific period which makes them very representative for the written language used in the respective time period.

4. Consideration of a digital future

Digital preservation structures are considered by the needs and constraints of storage spaces with little consideration for the requirements of current and future users of digital scholarly resources.

5. To avoid degradation over time

The low quality material of the newspaper contains acids that cause the fibers to break down over time. In turn, the paper yellows and hardens, and the inks often fade and at times acidic ink destroys the material. Even in this day and age most newsprint papers are still made this way, with an expected lifespan of only 50 years or less. It is no exaggeration that handwritten medieval documents will be longer preserved than 19th century printed newspapers due to their material quality.

Summary

The collections of newspaper archives are very valuable, leading to a growing need to preserve them. Therefore, newspaper digitization can be seen as a contribution to cultural preservation and not only as a service for researchers, newsmongers, and the historically interested public.

Is your organization looking for digitization? We can help! Get in touch with us to see how we can help you in digitizing your assets.

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