A trove of newspaper coverage — 1.6 million pages of The Salt Lake Tribune — will be available online, for free, to anyone in the world with internet access.
The papers, dating from 1920 to 2004, will be searchable by keyword — meaning researchers, genealogists, historians and the otherwise just curious can search copies without going through each one manually. The papers are scheduled to be available online, at digitalnewspapers.org, on Monday.
The 84 years’ worth of newspapers — digitized by Utah Digital Newspapers, a collaborative project based at the J. Williard Marriott Library at the University of Utah — will join a previously digitized set of newspapers going from 1871, the year of The Tribune’s founding, to 1919.
“We are grateful to those who worked to bring The Tribune’s archives online, now from 1871 to 2004, and especially to all of the journalists who have contributed to the newspaper going back more than 150 years,” said Lauren Gustus, The Tribune’s executive editor.
The digitization is a culmination of a 10-year effort, said to Tina Kirkham, the digital library project manager at the Marriott Library.
Kirkham said that, for the library, the advantages of making newspapers digital is two-fold: “One is, users don’t have to travel to a library to access it, they can access it on the internet,” she said.
Secondly, as the pages were digitized, Kirkham said, “we brought optical character recognition on it, which makes the newspaper searchable.” Now, for the first time ever, a reader can enter a keyword in the “search” field, she said, and “retrieve all the newspaper pages that include that term.”
The project deployed technology from Newspapers.com (a division of the genealogy website Ancestry.com) — which provided high-speed scanners and equipment that can capture 300 images per minute from a microfilm — and the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University, which loaned reels of microfilm for scanning.
Using microfilm for scanning made the process faster, Kirkham said, and helped “to preserve printed newspapers without having to hang onto the newsprint itself, which in fact is only going to deteriorate over time.”
Kirkham called The Tribune “a newspaper of national significance. It has carefully documented the significant changes in the lives of Utahns for over 150 years. Genealogists, historians and researchers of all kinds will have a field day.”