Preserving History and Past Events by Scanning Old Newspapers

by | Last updated Mar 28, 2023 | Published on Jul 26, 2021 | Document Conversion / Scanning Services

Newspapers have been a prime focus for document scanning in libraries due to their cultural and historic importance. Newspapers preserve rich records of the past and only a few libraries have copies of old newspapers, which are not accessible to everyone. Even if you have access to those newspaper collections, it is often difficult to find the information needed, unless the papers have been properly indexed. This problem can be resolved by converting old newspapers into digital format. With advanced technology available today, document scanning services can convert valuable newspapers that preserve the past into electronic format and store them in a central location for quick access. It is a cost-effective method to maintain old newspapers for posterity. Digitized newspapers can be also shared across libraries and universities for research purposes and used to study about different cultures, traditions, and past events.

Process of Scanning Newspapers

Newspapers are printed on thin paper that can tear and get damaged easily. To prevent this, old newspapers can be scanned, stored, retrieved and shared safely. Digital files cannot degrade and can be passed from one generation to another.

Old newspapers are usually found in paper format itself. However, some libraries and museums have newspapers that are centuries old saved in microfilms to prevent them from getting damaged. The quality of microfilm is not as good as the digital files. Some microfilmed newspapers are difficult to read, and so they should also be converted into digital format. Some of the newspapers in libraries and other resources have already been converted to PDF format, which is a newer way of preserving old newspapers, and these files need not be scanned.

Old newspapers that are in paper format can be scanned with the help of scanning experts and tools like document scanners. The scanned newspapers can be converted into any electronic format like JPEG, TIFF or PDF. They will also help indexing and categorizing the scanned newspapers, and create fully text searchable files using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software. The scanning process helps to produce color images, especially if scanning original paper newspapers. The images are often produced in TIFF format which can be later converted to any other format. 300DPI is the most common resolution but in some cases higher resolution images like 400DPI or 600DPI can also be produced.

Library of Congress Converts Old Newspapers

Led by Ben Lee, a researcher from the University of Washington, holding the Library of Congress “Innovator in Residence” position and the “Newspaper Navigator,” collects and surfaces data and images from some 16 million pages of newspapers throughout American history. Lee and his colleagues were already doing a digitization project in Chronicling America, an ongoing project for digitizing old newspapers and other such materials. They initially used human-powered work of outlining images and captioning and categorizing images. Later, they built an AI agent that could do so on its own, and they set it loose on the full Chronicling America database of newspaper scans. With accurate captions, the images can be searched for by their content.

Newspapers are an authoritative source of news, government and community information, and records of birth, marriage, and death notices spanning decades and eras. Digitization of newspapers offers unique searchable digital editions of a community’s history and also provides access to valuable information about the locality. By scanning newspapers into digital files, they can be stored in online archives for your society, library, or museum. It provides faster access to information, increased information sharing, and reduced cost associated with storage, printing and staffing hours. It also preserves the information for posterity. Newspapers are prone to fast deterioration and may get damaged even with the best efforts to stop them. To avoid such damage and loss of valuable information, it is better to scan old newspapers into digital format. A reliable provider of bulk document scanning services is the best business partner for quick digitizing of documents. They can handle huge volumes of files at a time without losing any data.

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