October 9, 2015

UNL digitizes 265,000 newspaper pages for national project

More than 10 million pages from historic newspapers from across the country now have been preserved online in the Chronicling America collection, the Library of Congress announced Oct. 7.

The Center for Digital Research in the Humanities at UNL has been a significant contributor to the eight-year effort, having digitized 265,000 pages from nearly 30,000 issues of 29 Nebraska newspapers dating back to 1854. Those papers were published in communities from all corners of the state, including Brownville, McCook, Alliance and Dakota City. The project includes 12,683 issues of the Omaha Daily Bee from Dec. 31, 1872, and April 1, 1916; 2,227 issues from the Red Cloud Chief between Oct. 9, 1873 and Dec. 28, 1922; and 2,217 issues from the North Platte Tribune from Oct. 8, 1890, to Dec. 29, 1922.

“Newspapers are primary sources for historical and genealogical research. They also provide fascinating glimpses into the human experience,” said Katherine Walter, co-director of the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities. She said that the Center’s humanities focus made this project a high priority. An advisory board of historians, journalists and librarians selected the papers.

The Atlantic and Time both published online features celebrating the newspaper project.

“The database is a rich resource, but it’s also the best kind of Internet rabbit hole,” Adrienne LaFrance wrote in The Atlantic. “You go in looking for one thing and encounter a dozen fascinating oddities along the way.”

LaFrance highlights 12 such stories in her article.

The Time piece features original newspaper headlines from 10 major historic events, such as the 1906 San Francisco earthquake; the 1912 sinking of the Titanic, and the start of Prohibition in 1917.

The newspaper database is free and searchable.

Katherine Walter
Katherine Walter