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PaLA College & Research Division (CRD) Spring/Summer Workshop 2007 Logging the Academic Life: Connecting to Students and Their Digital Histories. Breakout Session A: “Digitizing Campus Newspapers"
PaLA College & Research Division (CRD)Spring/Summer Workshop 2007Logging the Academic Life: Connecting to Students and Their Digital Histories
Breakout Session A: “Digitizing Campus Newspapers"
L. Suzanne Kellerman, Pennsylvania State University Christopher M. Raab, Franklin and Marshall College
Current Uses - Faculty/Curricular, Administrative
Current Uses - Alumni, Student Organizations
Current Uses - Athletics, College Advancement
Challenges and Costs
The digitized newspaper collection currently covers an 86-year period from 1915 to 2001, and is searchable via the World Wide Web.
OCLC Preservation Services (Bethlehem, PA) scanned the newspaper from the microfilm archival master. Olive Software, Inc. (Denver, CO) distilled, indexed, and created the searchable web interface.
Users can search the newspaper by article text, caption, or advertisement. In addition, the newspaper may be browsed by date, section, or page.
The next phase of digitization (The F&M Weekly - 1891 to 1915) is set for completion in spring 2008.
To view the F&M digitized newspaper collection, visit the web at:
F&M Student Newspaper Date Range Cost/Completion
Total Investment To Date $27,522*
*F&M currently pays $3,000/yr. in hosting fees to Olive Software
Total Estimated Costs Remaining est. $7,400
Example: Women’ Studies course examined the history of coeducation movement at F&M from the early 1940s to late 1960s. History course examined F&M student response to turbulent political and social events of the 1960s.
Example: Facilities and Operations - Successfully utilized the student newspaper to uncover details surrounding past land acquisitions/sales, razing of buildings, installation of gates/fences, removal of walls/drives, dedication of trees, etc.
F&M Alumni - Alumni Affairs has used the digitized newspaper for exhibitions, to research and promote class reunions, and to develop a written history of the Alumni Association.
Example:Another interesting alumni response has come from former newspaper staff writers who discover web access to a digitized portfolio of their previous work.
F&M Student Organizations - Various student organizations have used the student newspaper collection to trace organizational histories, make collages, and celebrate anniversaries.
Example:College Entertainment Committee (CEC) used the digitized newspaper to create a 40th anniversary collage/8 ft. poster of Spring Arts Weekend (1967-2007).
F&M Athletics - The Athletic department has used the student newspaper collection to trace the histories of various intramural/varsity sports teams and coaches.
Example:Searched the newspaper to determine the exact year that Women’s Field Hockey and Women’s Lacrosse became official varsity sports.
College Advancement - The Development Office has utilized the newspaper in researching previous donors, and cultivating new donors and alumni (especially legacy families).
Example: The student newspaper collection is a rich source of primary material documenting major fundraising events and gifts over the past century. These include major monetary gifts, museum/library gifts, class-sponsored gifts, building dedications, endowments, capital campaigns, etc.
Overall accuracy/professionalism of undergraduate reporting can be a concern.
“Gray Literature” nature of college newspapers can be a strength and a weakness.
F&M has found that the Student Newspaper Collection works most effectively in conjunction with College Archive records and images. “Consider it an additional tool in the research belt.”
Viability of newspapers in general (decreases in advertising revenue.)
Web 2.0 pressures (Blogs, Wikis, FaceBook, YouTube and other virtual student “collections.”)
Ongoing Costs/Maintenance -
Additional cost/effort in offering Digital/Web Access while continuing Microfilming/Deacidification/Preservation Binding of College Newspaper
Ongoing Storage Costs (these increase with additional pages digitized/memory consumed.)
Technological maintenance and upgrades (especially if self-hosting.)
Vendor Stability/Instability (Olive dropped partnership with OCLC after two years.)