On December 11th, 2017 I wrote an editorial published on chattanoogan.com entitled, "All I Want For Christmas Are Digitized Newspapers For 2018". Thanks to 26 enthusiastic donors, Christmas will come early this year.
Back in 2016, Sam Hall of DeepZoomChattanooga.com had coordinated with the Tennessee State Library and Archives to digitize over 6,000 pages of Chattanooga newspapers dating from 1854 to 1907. Since then we have made numerous attempts to find an affordable and a sustainable method to make this work available online and searchable. That included going back to a potential partner only to be rejected again.
I stumbled upon Advantage Companies' Preservation product during recent online research for information regarding Nevada Taylor, a young local woman who was assaulted and raped in 1906. After contacting them, Sam and I found their offering to meet our requirements and vetted them thoroughly, contacting various libraries on their client list. Their costs were reasonable and would allow us to tackle digitizing more newspapers for the immediate future. The ultimate goal is to add as many local publications in the public domain (pre-1923) as possible.
Digitization for newspapers has drastically come down in costs since we started this project in 2014. In the editorial noted above, my estimated cost would have been around $4,000 for 6,000 pages. Advantage Preservation comes in for under $1,500. And we expect their platform to improve with added features over the next year.
The timeline for the launch of chattanooganewspapers.org is by the end of June. We've raised $1,650 towards our goal of $1,500, and overflow funds will go towards a new batch of 10,000 pages yet to be digitized. We hope to start that process before the end of 2018.
Donations can still be made at chattanooganewspapers.org.