Florida & Puerto Rico Digital Newspaper Project Awarded Phase 3 Funding

NDNP Phase 3 Facebook-1

We have some exciting news for fans of digitization, preservation, and history. The Florida and Puerto Rico Digital Newspaper Project has been awarded funding from the National Endowment of the Humanities for a third digitization cycle! We’ll let you know as soon as newspaper titles are selected, but for now you can read more in our press release:

University of Florida Libraries Receive Additional $310,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities

Digitization project provides free online access to historic newspapers from Florida and Puerto Rico

August 2, 2017

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries was recently awarded supplemental funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to digitize in excess of 100,000 pages of historic newspapers. The $310,000 NEH grant will provide additional funding support for the “Florida and Puerto Rico Digital Newspaper Project, which is part of the state’s and territory’s participation in the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP). The award supplements earlier grants of $288,000 in 2015 and $325,000 in 2013, making the total award $923,000, the single largest direct award ever received by the Libraries.

Led by project director Patrick Reakes and project manager Melissa Jerome, the project is a collaboration between the University of Florida (UF) Libraries and the library at the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras (UPR-RP). It will provide a national, digital resource of historically significant newspapers published between 1690 and 1963 from Florida and Puerto Rico.

The project provides free, internet-based access to newspapers that are currently available only on aging microfilm. The digitized papers will be available through the Library of Congress Chronicling America (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/, the University of Florida Libraries Florida Digital Newspaper Library (http://ufdc.ufl.edu/newspapers), and the Biblioteca Digital Puertorriqueña at the University of Puerto Rico (http://bibliotecadigital.uprrp.edu/cdm/).

“This additional funding is extremely important and provides the opportunity to substantially expand access to historically important newspapers in both Florida and Puerto Rico” said Reakes. “The Florida and Puerto Rico Digital Newspaper Project has always focused on two primary goals; to provide access to a large corpus of newspapers that previously had limited availability and also to provide a long term, sustainable option for archiving them in a format other than microfilm. By the end of this portion of the project we’ll have in excess of 300,000 pages digitized and they are all freely available to anyone who wants to use them.”

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2 thoughts on “Florida & Puerto Rico Digital Newspaper Project Awarded Phase 3 Funding

  1. I would suggest improving the search capabilities for the 19th century newspapers. Many are basically unsearchable the way the system works now. The team should also inventory the 19th century newspapers available at smathers and the state library to fill in the gaps in the collection on the digital site. Dan Weinfeld

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    • Hi Dan, thanks for your feedback. We’re waiting for input from our Advisory Board regarding title selection, but we certainly keep in mind collection gaps as well as the availability of microfilm for different titles around Florida and Puerto Rico. The UF team has identified titles to discuss for Phase 3, but we’re limited by page count in terms of what we can digitize each cycle. We have a very ambitious goal of digitizing all our newspapers, but some of the gaps that exist are there because we don’t have microfilm (or sometimes originals!) for certain date ranges. While we have a working list of potential titles to be digitized, we will gladly take suggestions you have any. UF is working to improve search functions in UFDC but Chronicling America’s search functions make searching much easier. That being said, there are certain limits to OCR technology as it currently exists, and right now we’re not able to edit the OCR files.

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