The UMD Libraries were awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) $250,000 grant for the third phase of the Historic Maryland Newspaper Project, beginning September 1, 2016. Between 2016-2018, the project will digitize approximately 100,000 pages of newspapers published in the State of Maryland, adding to the over 200,000 pages from Maryland already in Chronicling America, the Library of Congress digitized newspaper database. The state partners contributing content for the third grant are the Maryland State Archives, also a partner on the second grant, and Frostburg State University Library. UMD’s theme for the third award is to include newspapers of greater diversity, including one Polish language paper and several labor papers, as well as newspapers with contrasting political viewpoints of those digitized during the first two grant cycles.
Project staff consulted with the Advisory Board to select the list of titles that may be selected during the 2016-2018 phase:
The Baltimore County Union (1865-1909), Towsontown, MD
Catoctin Clarion (1923), Mechanicstown, MD
The Citizen (1895-1922), Frederick, MD
Czas Baltimorski (1940-1941), Baltimore, MD
Democratic Messenger (1881-1922), Snow Hill, MD
Evening Capital, Evening Capital and Maryland Gazette (1884-1922), Annapolis, MD
Maryland Independent (1874-1934), Port Tobacco, MD
The Midland Journal (1885-1946), Rising Sun, MD
Voice of Labor (1938-1942), Cumberland, MD
Worcester Democrat and Ledger-Enterprise (1921-1953), Pocomoke City, MD
With guidance from the Library of Congress on how to perform copyright research, Doug McElrath (SCUA) and Robin Pike developed instructions for Doug, Robin, Judi Kidd, and Amy Wickner (SCUA) to perform the research and track their results, providing evidence to the Library of Congress and NEH that the titles are in the public domain. The project staff will primarily be searching in the pre-1978 Catalog of Copyright Entries, but may also have to search in the Copyright Catalog (1978-Present) for renewed registrations. Unlike a book which is a single entity, newspapers are copyrighted by the issue, so project staff will have to ensure that they do title searches across the entire date range of publication to ensure the issues are in the public domain.
Liz Caringola and I are working with special collections staff at the Maryland State Archives in Annapolis, who have been kind enough to provide space, computers, and guided tours of their collections. Maria Day and Allison Rein from MSA will highlight historic newspapers in their collections, while Liz will introduce edit-a-thon participants to Chronicling America and HMNP’s ongoing work. I’ll give short tutorials on editing Wikipedia and adding images to Wikimedia Commons. We’re hoping to draw participants from across the state and DC / Baltimore metro areas. All are welcome, and word-of-mouth promotion would be much appreciated.
Many edit-a-thon pages have a Goals section, conventionally a list of articles needing to be drafted, added, or improved. Our page has such a list, but we’d also like to help participants depart with at least some impulse to continue editing Wikipedia. (We’ll have a day-of participant survey of some kind to get at what brings people to our event.) Sparking a lifelong passion for editing Wikipedia using archival material as evidence would of course be fire, but growing sustainable participation more realistically involves a lot of small steps. Which is why it’s exciting to see that this is just one of many DC-area Wikipedia events this spring, with themes ranging from accessibility to labor to #ColorOurHistory.
The National Digital Newspaper Program’s (NDNP) goal in digitizing U.S. newspapers from microfilm isn’t to simply create digital copies of the film—it’s to make the content of the digitized newspapers more usable and reusable. This is made possible through the creation of different kinds of metadata during digitization. (You can read my post from 2013 for the nitty gritty details of NDNP metadata, or go straight to the source.) The addition of robust metadata means that the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America website isn’t just a digital collection of newspapers—it’s a rich data set—and our project’s contributions to Chronicling America represent Maryland in this data.
Newspaper data is being used in exciting ways by scholars, students, and software developers. Here are a few of my favorite examples:
This visualization plots the 140,000+ newspapers that are included in Chronicling America’s U.S. Newspaper Directory. Read about the history of newspaper publication in the U.S., and watch as newspapers spread across the country from 1690 through the present.
The 1918 influenza pandemic, or Spanish flu, killed 675,000 in the U.S. and 50 million worldwide. An Epidemiology of Information used two text-mining methods to examine patterns in how the disease was reported in newspapers and the tone of the reports (e.g., alarmist, warning, reassuring, explanatory). Visit the project website for more information, or read the project’s January 2014 article in Perspectives on History.
Bookworm is a tool that allows you to “visualize trends in repositories of digitized texts,” including Chronicling America. In the graph above, Tom Ewing of the aforementioned Epidemiology of Information project used Bookworm to visualize instances of the word “influenza” in the New York Tribune between 1911 and 1921. You can create your own visualizations of Chronicling America data using this tool.
Viral Texts: Mapping Networks of Reprinting in 19th-Century Newspapers and Magazines
NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks, Northeastern University http://viraltexts.org/
In the 19th century, the content published in newspapers was not protected by copyright as it is today. As a result, newspaper editors often “borrowed” and reprinted content from other papers. This project seeks to uncover why particular news stories, works of fiction, and poetry “went viral” using the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) text of the newspapers in Chronicling America and magazines in Cornell University Library’s Making of America.
The Historic Maryland Newspapers Project was first awarded an NDNP grant in 2012 to digitize 100,000 pages of newsprint published between 1836 and 1922. To date, approximately 107,375 pages of Maryland newspapers have been digitized and nearly 86,000 are available on the Library of Congress database Chronicling America. The bulk of these pages is from the prominent German-language Baltimore paper Der Deutsche Correspondent. The time frame of the digitized Correspondent spans 1858 to 1913.The following titles were also digitized during Phase 1 of the project:
The American Republican and Baltimore Daily Clipper, 1844-1846
The Baltimore Commercial Journal, and Lyford’s Price-Current, 1847-1849
Baltimore Daily Commercial, 1865-1866
The Daily Exchange, 1858-1861
The Pilot and Transcript, 1840-1841
Civilian and Telegraph (Cumberland), 1859-1865
The Maryland Free Press (Hagerstown), 1862-1868
During Phase 2, we will complete digitization of Der Deutsche Correspondent (1914-1918) and will digitize a variety of English papers that reflect the regional diversity of Maryland. We look forward to collaborating with our colleagues at the Maryland State Archives during the second phase of the project.
The Historic Maryland Newspapers Project is hiring a Wikipedian-in-Residence for the summer months. Our overall goal in bringing a seasoned Wikipedian on board is to improve the quality of Wikipedia articles by increasing the number of relevant citations and links to the rich newspaper content of Chronicling America.
This position will be a little different from the typical Wikipedian-in-Residence gig. Most Wikipedians are brought into an organization in order to teach the staff how to edit Wikipedia, to edit and upload content to Wikipedia or Wikimedia, or to hold edit-a-thons–at least this is what I’ve gleaned while perusing other Wikipedian job listings. Our Wikipedian may do a little of this, but their work will mostly be research-based and will result in a written report of recommendations for our project and other National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) awardees to implement.
First, our Wikipedian will complete an analysis of how Chronicling America is currently being represented in Wikipedia. Linkypedia is one tool that could be used during the analysis. It will be important that our Wikipedian can utilize this and other tools–perhaps even tweak these tools–in order to gather relevant statistics.
The next step will be analyzing these statistics. This step is crucial because the conclusions drawn will guide the Wikipedian’s most significant responsibility–to explore different scenarios, tools, or methods for how we might effectively increase Chronicling America‘s presence on Wikipedia. For example, they may be as simple and low tech as authoring a comprehensive guide for NDNP awardees to start editing Wikipedia; or they could require developers to add some code to the open source application behind Chronicling America in order to automatically generate wiki markup needed to cite a newspaper page in Wikipedia. (The National Library of Australia has built this functionality into their digital repository, Trove.)
The Wikipedian will also have to investigate the cost and resources needed to realize their proposed solutions. The Wikipedian will prioritize and make recommendations for which tools should be implemented in upcoming months based on their feasibility and estimated effectiveness.
In order to accomplish all this in four short months, the Wikipedian will have to have experience conducting research and analyzing data; knowledge of existing tools and APIs for Wikipedia; and a firm understanding of the written–and more importantly, the unwritten–rules of editing Wikipedia. This is a part-time, paid position and cannot be performed remotely.
I’m pleased to announce that the first digitized pages produced by the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project are now accessible on the Library of Congress website Chronicling America. Issues from the German-language, Baltimore newspaper Der Deutsche Correspondent are available for the years 1858, 1866, 1868, and 1870-1892. For a tutorial on how to search for Maryland newspapers in Chronicling America, see this post on the Special Collections blog.
Before current funding ends in August 2014, the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project will also digitize several English titles published in Baltimore, including the American Republican and Baltimore Daily Clipper, the Baltimore Commercial Journal, and Lyford’s Price-Current, the Baltimore Daily Commercial, the Daily Exchange, the Maryland Free Press, and the Pilot and Transcript, as well as one additional title from Cumberland, the Civilian and Telegraph.