Assembling The Digital Page: Team VNP Attends National Digital Newspaper Program Conference In DC

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The Library of Congress, Madison Building. Meeting place for the 2018 National Digital Newspaper Program Conference.

What’s true of most conferences was true of ours last week in Washington:  An opportunity to share a common language with people of the same mission in the same space.  The space was provided by the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the co-administrators and grant source for our Project and others across the country.  The mission, no longer young, now entering its thirteenth year, seeks to rescue from an unstable environment to a manageable digital home as many historical newspapers as possible.chronamThe circled total of pages on the screen shot above from the Chronicling America homepage is a number to which we’ve made a significant contribution already.   It’s always increasing and at least two hundred thousand of that increase a year from now will come from the Virginia Newspaper Project (VNP).  One half of that contribution will be additional Virginia newspapers prepared by VNP and the other from an ongoing partnership with West Virginia University in which we split responsibility-research and selection on their side, digitizing on ours.

The marquee is always changing on Chron Am.  That circled front page is one of ours, so we grabbed it for use here.  Perhaps an unnecessary reminder, but behind these digital newspaper pages is a busy, jargon-filled world.  To assist in the identification and navigation of digital images we employ such technical terms as Alto, METS Alto, Bagger, PREMIS, LCCN, JPEGS, Fixity Check, METS XML and that’s likely enough examples.  These terms of use speak to deliverables, the papers, and not directly to the maintenance of Chron Am itself.

The annual NDNP conference is proper reminder to its participants of the considerable effort the IT staff of the Library of Congress devotes to not merely the website’s current standard of performance but its continued improvement.  In fact, we were told, an upgrade of Chronicling America is in the works and will be revealed sometime early next year.  “Fit To Print” will keep you advised.

NDNP Map

The green states have been given grants by the National Endowment for the Humanities to digitize historic newspapers.

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2 Responses to Assembling The Digital Page: Team VNP Attends National Digital Newspaper Program Conference In DC

  1. Joanne Yeck says:

    Searchable, historic newspapers are changing the way history is written. Collaboration is so important. Keep up the good work!

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