“At Risk”: An Analysis of newspaper source materials digitized by U.S. and European repositories

SMITH, Maria (2016) “At Risk”: An Analysis of newspaper source materials digitized by U.S. and European repositories. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2016 – Columbus, OH – Connections. Collaboration. Community in Session S21 - Satellite Meeting: News Media. In: News, new roles & preservation advocacy: moving libraries into action, 10-12 August 2016, Lexington, KY, USA.

Bookmark or cite this item: https://library.ifla.org/id/eprint/2072
Language: English (Original)
Available under licence Creative Commons Attribution.


“At Risk”: An Analysis of newspaper source materials digitized by U.S. and European repositories

In 2015, in cooperation with IFLA News Media Section, The Center for Research Libraries conducted an in-depth assessment of the outputs of the major newspaper digitization efforts in the U.S. and Europe. The purpose of the assessment was to identify the comparative strengths and gaps in the corpus of newspapers digitized to date, relative to the total body of newspapers held by libraries. The findings of that assessment revealed a number of areas where cooperative action was required by libraries to address the persistent limitations in our shared effort. A key observation of that assessment was that the bulk of newspaper digitization has been conducted from microfilm surrogates, meaning that an undetermined—but likely significant—quantity of titles and issues remain at risk due to fragility, lack of preservation, damage from use, displacement, or sheer neglect. Through a follow up assessment, CRL has attempted to better determine the scale of the “at risk” corpus by examining the format of source materials used in digitization of European and American newspapers by national libraries, regional collecting institutions, and commercial providers. This paper presents results of CRL’s assessment. Based on quantitative and qualitative information, it attempts to quantify the number of newspaper titles digitally reproduced by the major repositories using original print copies compared to the amount of content scanned from microfilm. The author characterizes libraries’ varied approaches to newspaper digitization, particularly from the perspective of content sourcing, and the implications of these choices on the future accessibility of content and the survival of the historical print record. Strategies for newspaper digitization are often motivated by efficient access to as much content as possible. However, this paper argues that preservation decisions must also play a role in selection, as original print copies never selected to be microfilmed are continuing to be neglected for preservation measures.

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