Efforts continue to digitize Indiana’s historic newspapers


The Library of Congress recently ingested another 12,533 historic Indiana newspaper pages into its Chronicling America archiving website.

This brings the total number of Indiana news­paper pages to about 100,000 in the grant-funded Chronicling America effort.

Digitize papers

The Indiana State Library wants to digit­ize more historic Indiana news­papers.

Hoosier publishers can direct inquires to Chandler Lighty at clighty@library.in.gov or (317) 232-3681.

The content includes newspapers from Brookville, Indianapolis, Jasper, Plymouth, Terre Haute and Winchester, said S. Chandler Lighty, digital initiatives consultant and newspaper digitization program manager for the Indiana State Library.

“We are moving ahead with digitizing another 100,000 newspaper pages as a continuation of our grant,” Lighty said. “Over the coming months and year, historic digitized newspapers from South Bend, Evansville, and Vincennes will be available.”

Federal grants allow Indiana State Library staff members to digitize the newspapers as part of the National Digital Newspaper Program, a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress.

The effort is a long-term effort to develop an Internet-based, searchable database of U.S. newspapers with descriptive information and historic pages.

A full list of digitized news­papers is available at chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.

Chronicling America, created by the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., provides free online access to historic newspapers. Indiana State Library staff members have been working for over two years to digitize a selection of Indiana’s historically significant newspapers.

As part of the state lib­rary’s newspaper digitization efforts, the titles also are available via the Indiana Memory website at digital.library.in.gov.

The site features digitized newspapers, books, manu­scripts, photographs, maps and other media. The Indiana Memory newspaper collection contains 14,214 issues comprising 95,455 pages.

The newspaper section of Indiana Memory is displayed using Veridian software, which allows users to correct the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) text.

Those who have done historical research with digitized content know that the search results are only as good as the OCR, Lighty said.

The crowd-sourcing com­ponent of Veridian allows users to register and make corrections to the text.

For instance, if users find names garbled in the OCR, they can correct them so future users can find those names easier.

“I’m really excited about Veridian, especially the crowd-sourcing function, and I’ll be interested to see how people use it,” Lighty said.