“This site allows you to search and view newspaper pages from 1890-1910 and find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress as part of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP).”

“Chronicling America is a prototype Website providing access to information about historic newspapers and select digitized newspaper pages, and is produced by the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP). NDNP, a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Library of Congress (LC), is a long-term effort to develop an Internet-based, searchable database of U.S. newspapers with descriptive information and select digitization of historic pages. Supported by NEH, this rich digital resource will be developed and permanently maintained at the Library of Congress. An NEH award program will fund the contribution of content from, eventually, all U.S. states and territories. More information on program guidelines, participation, and technical information can be found at http://www.neh.gov/projects/ndnp.html or http://www.loc.gov/ndnp/.

Building the Digital Collection

Newspaper Title Directory

The Newspaper Title Directory is derived from the library catalog records created by state institutions during the NEH-sponsored United States Newspaper Program (http://www.neh.gov/projects/usnp.html), 1980-2007. This program funded state-level projects to locate, describe (catalog), and selectively preserve (via treatment and microfilm) historic newspaper collections in that state, published from 1690 to the present. Under this program, each institution created machine-readable cataloging (MARC) via the Cooperative ONline SERials Program (CONSER) for its state collections, contributing bibliographic descriptions and library holdings information to the Newspaper Union List, hosted by the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC). This data, approximately 140,000 bibliographic title entries and 900,000 separate library holdings records, was acquired and converted to MARCXML format for use in the Chronicling America Newspaper Title Directory.

Selected Digitized Newspaper Pages

Each NDNP participant receives an award to select and digitize approximately 100,000 newspaper pages representing that state’s regional history, geographic coverage, and events of the particular time period being covered. In order to plan for phased development, the annual award program began with targeting digitized material for the decade 1900-1910. In subsequent award years, the time period will be gradually extended to eventually cover the historic period 1836-1922. As newspapers are digitized they will be made freely available to the public through this Web site, as follows:

  • in 2007, 1900-1910;
  • in 2008, 1880-1910;
  • in 2009, 1880-1922;
  • in 2010, 1860-1922;
  • in 2011, 1836-1922.

Participants are expected to digitize primarily from microfilm holdings for reasons of efficiency and cost, encouraging selection of technically-suitable film, bibliographic completeness, diversity and “orphaned” newspapers (newspapers that have ceased publication and lack active ownership) in order to decrease the likelihood of duplicative digitization by other organizations.

These newspaper materials were digitized to technical specifications designed by the Library of Congress. These specifications include the following basic elements (profiles describing the full set of specifications can be found at http://www.loc.gov/ndnp/techspecs.html) :

  • TIFF 6.0, 8-bit grayscale, 400 dpi, uncompressed, with specified tag values
  • JPEG2000, Part 1; 8-bit component; 6 decomposition layers; 25 quality layers; 8:1 compression; with XML Box with specified RDF metadata
  • Single page PDF with hidden text; downsampled to 150 dpi, using JPEG compression; with XMP containing specified RDF metadata.
  • Single page machine-readable text encoded in ALTO, v. 1.1.041 XML; in column-reading order (created with Optical Character Recognition).
  • METS XML data objects describing newspaper issues, pages, and microfilm reels; incorporating elements in MODS, PREMIS, and MIX formats.

Chronicling America provides access to these digitized historic materials primarily through a Web interface enhanced with dynamic HTML interactivity for magnification and navigation. Searches are available for both full-text newspaper pages and bibliographic newspaper records (the Newspaper Directory). Pages are displayed in JPEG format, dynamically-created from source files on user request and presented through the browser interface using a combination of Javascript, DHTML and AJAX Web programming. A more text-based (but less interactive) interface is also available (see Basic HTML links on each newspaper page display) for use with older browsers.

Preservation Data Repository and Dissemination Application

The NDNP repository developed for Chronicling America is based on the Open Archive Information System (OAIS) Reference Model for preservation repository architecture and supported by a variety of modular components to enable long-term sustainability of data ingestion, archival management and data dissemination. The various modules include the use of FEDORA (Flexible Extensible Digital Object and Repository Architecture) for basic repository architecture, SRU/SRW, Aware JPEG2000 Libraries, Apache Lucene for search and index, Apache Cocoon for Web dissemination, and dynamic Web-based programming languages such as Javascript, DHTML and AJAX. For more information, see http://www.loc.gov/ndnp/ or contact ndnptech@loc.gov.

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A proposito dell'autore

Laureata all’Università Ca’ Foscari di Venezia in Storia e in Archivistica e biblioteconomia, si interessa di ricerca e valutazione delle risorse web per gli Studi Storici, progettazione e promozione della conoscenza storica attraverso le nuove tecnologie.

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