The Providence Public Library (PPL) and Rhode Island Historical Society (RIHS) are excited to announce the award of $250,000 in federal funding that will support an ongoing partnership to complete an extensive digitization project of Rhode Island’s historic newspapers. The funds are being awarded as part of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Library of Congress, to create a national digital resource of historically significant newspapers published between 1690 and 1963 from all the states and U.S. territories available through the Library of Congress. This is the first time that Rhode Island has participated in the program.
RIHS holds a remarkable collection of microfilm reels of 314 Rhode Island newspaper titles that ceased publication prior to 1923. However, this collection, critical to understanding the development of both the state and the nation's rich history, remains unavailable for research in an online format.
This grant funding supports PPL, in partnership with the RIHS, to digitize at least 50,000 pages of historic RI newspapers, provide the Library of Congress preservation copies of microfilm reels, and promote the accessibility of these digital resources to the broader community.
The principal project activities and results will include:
- RIHS will complete full inventory of master microfilm reels. In addition to title and publication dates, research into individual titles regarding readership, editorial stance, political orientation, and geographic coverage will be noted as it is available. Second-generation silver negative duplicates will be produced.
- An Advisory Board will convene, establish decision-making protocols, and prioritize a list of titles for digitization.
- PPL will scan, edit files, and create metadata.
- PPL will maintain regularly scheduled quality review checks for digital files and metadata accuracy.
- PPL will first submit test digitization run to RIHS for approval.
- At least 100,000 pages will be digitized.