A look into ongoing digital newspaper projects

With the primary goal of digitizing regional newspapers as a way of increasing access to and awareness of marginalized historic material, the US Caribbean & Ethnic Florida Digital Newspaper Project (USCEFDNP) is part of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), a large-scale digitization effort managed by the Library of Congress and funded through the National Endowment for the Humanities. Launched in 2005, this initiative awards one institution per state or territory biennially with the necessary funds to digitize 100,000 pages worth of content, which is then uploaded to Chronicling America, an open access digital library designed as a permanent host of this content. As one of several ongoing newspaper-focused projects taking place at the George A. Smathers Libraries of the University of Florida, the USCEFDNP is the result of a partnership with two other academic institutions: the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras and, as of the latest award cycle, the University of the Virgin Islands. Over the course of the project’s previous three cycles, over 300,000 pages of content have been digitized and uploaded to Chronicling America, along with detailed essays to contextualize each publication. With a focus on ethnic histories in the region, the project’s current selections for digitization include three papers of Jewish, African American, and Hispanic origins. In a similar fashion to the objectives of our own project, the scope and quality of the content hosted on Chronicling America culminated in a Data Challenge held by the NEH in order to promote interest in the use and potential of historical data by other scholars on a variety of topics. Through dLOC as Data, we hope to make additional Caribbean newspapers outside the US more amenable to text and data analysis.

Those interested in the USCEFDNP may contact Melissa Jerome, the Project Coordinator at the University of Florida, for more information.

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