For nearly two months, Amy Gragert and Kelsey Kahlbaum-Hoisington have been working on a digitization project that is now coming to fruition. The project, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, allows for the duplication of newspaper microfilm, which will be sent to the Library of Congress to be digitized and added to the Chronicling America, an online digitized newspaper website that allows researchers to look through digitized newspapers from across the country for free.
This project is expected to run for the next six years and will include newspapers from across the state. One batch sent to the Library of Congress consisted of 21 rolls and by the end of this first cycle, there will be 200 rolls sent, making up 100,000 pages of newsprint.
The process has been long, but has paid off. Kelsey points out that the Library of Congress has very strict guidelines governing their website. “The film has to meet their density standards and those are very high,” she observes. In this first batch are titles such as the Newport Daily Independent, the Forrest City Times, and the Log Cabin Democrat. Once the Library of Congress has digitized those papers, they will be available to read at https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/.