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Learning About History through Digitized Historical Books and Documents

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People are largely dependent on computers and other advanced technologies and in this new age of networked society, information technology is gradually changing the world into a global village. Many academic and non-academic organizations are in the process of digitization with assistance from document scanning services. Most libraries have transformed digitally or are in the process of digitizing their books and other ancient valuable documents. Documents that are converted into digital format gain accessibility, flexibility and manipulability. Once the digitized materials are placed online, it becomes easy for people to obtain information from anywhere at any time. It helps in preserving the originals and also helps reduce handling damages for publicly available documents.

Digitized Historical Books and Documents

For many years the only way to make historical documents available to interested groups or the public was by placing them in a museum, or archiving them in a vaulted room. It was not possible to actually read what was on those papers. However, with digitization, you can access the material in those documents.

Preserving History at Arizona Capitol

Sativa Peterson, the news content program manager for the State of Arizona Research Library has been working on the Arizona Memory Project with the objective of digitizing Arizona’s newspapers that date back to the 1800s. There are major papers from the earliest days before Arizona became a state as well as smaller newspapers that contain much of the history. Among the significant papers are a paper written in both English and Japanese from internment camps, the Arizona Times, a paper created by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s daughter as a challenger to The Arizona Republic, and papers from almost every city and county.

Sativa, who has a background in journalism and libraries, considers it a great opportunity to be able to work on this project. In fact, it is the largest newspaper collection in Arizona that dates from 1859 (when the first newspaper was published in the state) till the present.

Learning History through Newspapers

The first Arizona paper was The Weekly Arizonian that was out of Tubac and the newspaper contains much of the history of the State. There are papers containing information about the US-Mexico border and from the newspaper we can see how views from the border change throughout history, sometimes more welcoming, sometimes less, and how that correlates to other things in U.S. history. There are newspapers from 1917 which is the era of women’s suffrage movement. A newspaper from 1909 has a title“What if Halley’s Comet hits you?” which gives practical advice about what to do if a comet hits you. A newspaper from 1926, The Winslow Mail carried news about a local girl who grew up in Winslow, taught in Winslow and it was the first time that someone from the town had become an educator in the town. Significantly, she taught Sativa Peterson’s grandparents. Thus, preserving history by digitizing helps learn the past and also connect with the community.

Around 80 papers are available on the Arizona Memory Project and this year they are releasing sections of 40 new titles. There are 700 Arizona newspaper titles in the collection as a whole.With the 40 new titles coming out, about 8 percent or 9 percent of the collection will be digitized. They are planning to release six Spanish language papers from Phoenix and Tucson within the next few months.Six, pre-1963 African-American newspaper titles and papers of the U.S-Mexico border will be made available online. Sativa Peterson is also interested in papers that were published during Arizona’s growth after World War II. Her objective is to start with military papers published in Arizona and as towns started to form.

Digitization of newspapers takes you back to old times and you can also learn how the world has changed over a period of time. Converting papers into digital format is highly challenging, tedious and time-consuming but is a worthwhile effort. Conversion of documents into digital form becomes easy with efficient support from a reliable document conversion company. They are professional in handling fragile and old documents without causing any damage. They can handle large volumes of documents and convert them into electronic format without losing accuracy and clarity. Document scanning service is an affordable option when it comes to bulk document scanning and conversion.

About Julie Clements

Julie Clements

Joined the MOS team in March of 2008. Julie Clements has background in the healthcare staffing arena; as well as 6 years as Director of Sales and Marketing at a 4 star resort. Julie was instrumental in the creation of the medical record review division (and new web site); and has especially grown this division along with data conversion of all kinds.