As many newspaper publishers struggle with how to provide access to their printed archives without the content being exploited, small-market publishers are lining up to have their archives digitized and made online-accessible by SmallTownPapers, Inc. The Seattle-based company is working with more than 300 publishers from across the US to create high-quality digital images of their newspaper pages which are searchable and distributed online through defined partnerships. To date, the company has scanned more than two million newspaper pages of its 20 million page archive and its digital database is expanding daily.
“While large newspapers have long had their archives electronically available, the small town newspapers were generally unable to do that because of the costs involved,” explained Paul Jeffko, president and founder of SmallTownPapers, Inc. “With this program, millions of newspaper pages are being viewed and searched online for the first time.”
SmallTownPapers’ growing collection of newly-digitized historical content is a boon to the search engine community which is seeking to deliver more relevant search results by providing access to digitized printed materials like newspapers. Just as Google™, Microsoft® and others are beginning to scan books; SmallTownPapers is digitizing the complete archives of newspapers from small towns across America, including the current printed weekly editions.
Newspaper publishers, seeing the world pull away from paper and ink, understand the public’s desire for immediate access and delivery of the unique information their archives hold. “Our archives were previously only available to customers coming to the office, thumbing through our faded and fragile large bound volumes and placing them on a copier,” said Cara Young from Charles Town, West Virginia’s Spirit of Jefferson Farmer’s Advocate. “We’re thrilled customers can now find what they’re looking for online and print out the information in their own home without having to handle the aging books.”
Small market newspaper archives are of intense interest to millions of people – authors conducting research, journalists needing background information, those tracking business, environmental and cultural trends, and historians and genealogists looking for vital records. “The SmallTownPapers collection is extremely valuable for family history researchers and has been one of the most accessed and favorite databases on our website,” said Walter Fuller, President of Everton’s Genealogical Helper.
The SmallTownPapers archive, which includes current editions and those printed back to the 1800s, is available for online search through a distribution partnership with World Vital Records, Inc., which operates a genealogy-based research website. More than one million pages of the archive are available today with 100,000 pages added to the World Vital Records website each month.
SmallTownPapers (smalltownpapers.com) is an online gateway to newspapers from small-town America — past and present. Working with publishers from across the country, the company digitally scans current and archived newspapers and then provides online access. Through the SmallTownPapers website, the newspaper archives can be searched by keyword or phrase and viewed as originally printed. SmallTownPapers, Inc. is based in Seattle, WA.