The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) awarded $353,069 to the Ohio Historical Society to begin digitization of Ohio’s microfilmed newspapers. The Ohio Newspaper Digitization Project, a part of the National Digital Newspaper Program developed by NEH and the Library of Congress, will digitize 100,000 Ohio newspaper pages between the years of 1880 and 1922 during the two-year grant period. Newspapers digitized as part of the grant award will be included in the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America database at www.loc.gov/chroniclingamerica.
“The ultimate goal over the next 20 years is to create a national online, searchable resource of historically significant newspapers,” said Angela O’Neal, OHS manager of digital collections. “This grant, one of only six awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, will provide the Ohio Historical Society with the infrastructure to digitize the sheer number and volume of Ohio newspapers published during this time period.”
The Ohio Newspaper Digitization Project will build upon an earlier NEH initiative, the United States Newspaper Program, which enabled the Society to locate, catalog and microfilm Ohio’s newspapers. As a result, the Society holds the most complete Ohio newspaper microfilm collection in the state comprising some 20,000 volumes of newsprint.
Because the initial project will be limited to a small number of newspapers, an advisory group of journalists, historians, educators, scholars, librarians and archivists will select the titles to be digitized, according to O’Neal. “This is just the beginning,” she said. “The Society will continue to apply for NEH funds in upcoming grant cycles until we can complete the Ohio Newspaper Digitization Project.”