Chronicling America user stats for PA

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It is exciting to see that in the first three months since the first upload of two Pennsylvania newspapers to Chronicling America, there has been 36,927 hits to our newspaper pages.

September 2009 -  4,901
October 2009 -    12,804
November 2009 - 19,222
Overall -              36,927

These statistics indicate the number of times a newspaper page credited to PaDNP was served to a user through the Chronicling America web site, in the associated time period.  This information is provided by the Library of Congress to NDNP awardees in support of their participation in the program.

NDNP continuation grant application submitted

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We submitted a National Digital Newspaper Program continuation grant application to the National Endowment for the Humanities for the Pennsylvania Digital Newspaper Project Phase II (2010-2012) to digitize approximately 100,000 pages published between 1836 and 1922.  Awardees will be notified by July 2010.  Wish us luck!

You may read the grant components by clicking on the file names that follow:


Essays written about the titles selected for digitization

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The Pennsylvania Digital Newspaper Project (PaDNP) contracted with four writers to provide essays about the four titles selected for digitization and inclusion in Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers, which is an online repository for digitized newspapers maintained by the Library of Congress.

The title essay provides information about the scope, content, history and significance of each digitized newspaper beyond what is available in the bibliographic record. The essay explains to the reader why a particular title was worthy of enhanced access. The PaDNP Project Manager worked with the writers to submit the essay to the National Digital Newspaper Program editor at the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The essay for the Scranton Tribune was written by Jennifer Mahalidge, Intern, Lackawanna County Historical Society.
Essay_Scranton Tribune.pdf 

The essay for the Pittsburg Dispatch was written by Zachary Brodt, United Electrical Workers Archivist, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh.
Essay_Pittsburg Dispatch.pdf 

The essay for the Lancaster Daily Intelligencer was written by Doug Harper, Reporter, Lancaster Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era.
Essay_Lancaster Daily Intelligencer.pdf

The essay for the Evening Public Ledger was written by Joanne Danifo, a former employee of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania who recently finished her Master's degree in history at Rutgers University.
Essay_Evening Public Ledger.pdf

Odds 'n' Ends

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The Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers website was recently upgraded with  interface changes that make the newspaper search directory more user friendly. Check it out at

Chronicling America will surpass one million pages with the June content update. We'll be in Washington, D. C. on June 16 to attend a special news event to highlight this milestone in the life of NDNP.  The news event will take place at the Newseum. Members of the press have been invited to hear remarks by several speakers; and state project directors will have an opportunity to talk to reporters.

A proposal for a poster session was submitted to the Pennsylvania Library Association (PaLA). If our proposal, which is entitled "So you want to digitize your local newspaper: Tips for Success", is accepted, we will be in Harrisburg on October 21 for the PaLA annual conference.

Sue Kellerman and Karen Morrow enjoyed two Spring days in Washington, D. C. for the preservation conference, "Digitizing for Preservation and Access: Past is Prologue", hosted by the National Archives and Records Administration at the National Archives on March 26. At the conference, we met Ralph Canevali, NEH Deputy Director of Preservation and Access who edits the title essays for NDNP.

The Preservation Fair, "Preserving Your Family Treasures", held at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History on February 28 gave us an opportunity to spread the word to the general pubic about newspaper preservation and digitization. Sue Kellerman and Karen Morrow manned the booth and answered questions.

Film Acquisition Update

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The camera master negatives (1N) for the Scranton Tribune were loaned to PaDNP by the State Library of Pennsylvania. Duplicate negatives (2N) were produced for scanning by the National Archive Publishing Company.

The camera master negatives (1N) for the Evening Public Ledger were loaned to PaDNP by the Free Library of Philadelphia. Duplicate negatives (2N) were produced for scanning by the National Archive Publishing Company.

The duplicate negatives (2N) for the Pittsburg Dispatch were produced by the Library of Congress from their own collection of camera master negatives (1N).

The duplicate negatives (2N) for the Lancaster Daily Intelligencer are in the process of being ordered from ProQuest's collection of camera master negatives (1N).

Data Delivery Update

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In the three months since the last progress report, PaDNP staff collated and inspected 98 reels of microfilm containing 68,159 newspaper pages. Since the Library of Congress requires delivery of no more than 10,000 pages per batch per month, this number represents 7 batches. The first four batches of microfilm have been shipped to our vendor, iArchives, for scanning and digitization.

PaDNP staff is engaged in batch file verification and image quality checking of the first batch of digital images and data files received from iArchives. However, we have not yet approved the first batch or made a delivery to LC. We are working with our vendor to address quality control issues. Once the vendor gets the wrinkles ironed out of the first batch, it will be delivered to LC.

Although LC expects batches to be delivered monthly, the images are ingested into the database quarterly. Therefore, the earliest we will see our newspaper in Chronicling America will be September 2009.

Follow this link for the estimated page budget for each title
4 Finalists-Temporal Span.xls 

The four titles will be digitized in the following order:
Scranton Tribune
Evening Public Ledger
Pittsburg Dispatch
Lancaster Daily Intelligencer

Digitization Phase Up and Running

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Since contracting with iArchives, the digitization phase of PaDNP is off to a great start thanks to a very informative and helpful kick-off meeting on February 6 with Hondo Seitzinger, Senior Project Manager from iArchives, and Scott Christensen, Vice President of Electronic Production at iArchives, Lindon, Utah. PaDNP staff is now engaged in pre-digitization processing (i.e., microfilm collation and inspection).  Rob Grabill is getting his quality control and validation skills up to speed by viewing the sample data files created by iArchives.The first batch of 10,160 pages on 15 reels of microfilm for the Scranton Tribune is now being processed by iArchives.

Four Titles to be Digitized by PaDNP

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Four newspaper titles will represent the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers digital repository maintained by the Library of Congress. The Pennsylvania Digital Newspaper Project will digitize the following four titles for inclusion in the repository:

Lancaster Daily Intelligencer (1880:1:1-1889:12:31)
Pittsburg Dispatch (1889:1:1-1892:12:31)
Scranton Tribune (1897:1:1-1902:12:31)
Evening Public Ledger (1914:9:14-1922:12:31)

We extend our appreciation to the following who allowed free and unencumbered access to the camera master negatives:

Lancaster Newspapers, Inc.
Library of Congress
State Library of Pennsylvania
Free Library of Philadelphia

Performance Report (July - December 2008)

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The Pennsylvania Digital Newspaper Project (PaDNP) is unfolding according to the work plan and methodology outlined in the proposal submitted to the NDNP competition with minor revisions made as per the peer review recommendations. It has, however, taken more time than anticipated. During the first two months, the project gradually ramped up and completed start-up activities.

The PaDNP advisory board, as established in the NDNP grant application, was activated August 1 via an email communication from L. Suzanne (Sue) Kellerman, PaDNP Principal Investigator and Project Coordinator, outlining the board's responsibilities.

Sue Kellerman and Larry Wentzel, Digital Preservation Coordinator for the Penn State University Libraries, attended the NDNP Awardee Conference in Washington, D C August 6-8.

By the end of September, Larry left Penn State for a job at the University of Michigan. Albert Rozo, Reformatting Supervisor for the Penn State University Libraries, assumed Larry's duties as outlined in the NDNP grant application.

A job vacancy announcement was posted on August 22 for the Project Manager position.

 A press release was distributed to statewide media on August 29.

During this six month period, PaDNP was fully operational for four months beginning with the hiring of Karen Morrow as the Project Manager on September 8, 2008. The Microfilm Project Assistant was hired September 25, 2008. An unexpected vacancy occurred in this position late in November. The vacancy was filled on January 5, 2009 by Jennifer Funk. In the meantime, Robert Grabill was hired as the Digital Project Assistant on December 15, 2008.

During the past four months, the PaDNP staff has been simultaneously engaged in title selection and service copy (3P) film evaluation and collation.  In addition, the camera master negatives for the Scranton Tribune (Scranton, PA:  1891) were acquired from the State Library of PA to use for the sample reel.

As a preliminary step, PaDNP staff viewed and evaluated the 3P film of potential candidates for intellectual content and checked for some key quality indicators that determine whether or not it was worthwhile to do a full technical inspection on the camera master negatives (e.g., image orientation as it relates to reduction ratio, the presence of technical targets, overall contrast and legibility, very small fonts and extraneous markings as it relates to successful OCR). It was the first step to advance or eliminate titles based on the quality of the original text and microfilm capture.

Technical analysis of the camera master negatives for the Scranton Tribune is underway.

A blog was developed and launched on November 15 to engage the advisory board in the title selection process.

As of December 31, PaDNP was still in the process of selecting the newspaper titles and date ranges for digitization. Considering our access to the camera master negatives, there are five titles remaining as candidates.   With an estimate of the number of pages included in these five titles, it is apparent that we still need to narrow down the candidates for digitization. Suggestions for fine tuning the budget of 100,000 pages are under discussion with the Advisory Board.

The State Library of PA and the Free Library of Philadelphia have been very cooperative is allowing PaDNP to borrow service copy microfilm from their collections in order to identify titles and film that meet the Library of Congress specifications for digitization. Both institutions are very willing to provide the camera master negatives for any titles in their collection that meet the selection criteria and are approved by the Advisory Board.

The Request for Proposals was sent to five vendors on November 21, 2008. Three vendors submitted proposals by the December 9 deadline. iArchives was the vendor of choice. A contract between iArchives and Penn State University was signed on January 19, 2009. A key component of the iArchives proposal is the Project Kick-Off meeting with two representatives from the company. A number of project related topics will be covered at this meeting scheduled for February 6. The delivery date for the sample reel will be determined pending our kick-off meeting with the vendor.

Other newspaper digitization activities are occurring at our collaborating partners' institutions (non-NDNP funded). The State Library of PA hosts an informal internet based guide to historical Pennsylvania newspapers that have been digitized. The information represents Pennsylvania newspapers known to exist in a digital format at both free and subscription sites. The listing is not meant to be the definitive source but rather an evolving document that will be updated periodically when new information becomes available. The State Library invites libraries and historical societies to contribute to this directory by contacting them with additional information which will be used for periodic updates. The guide can be found at the following link.

The State Library of PA continues to add digitized copies of historical Pennsylvania newspapers to the AccessPA Digital Repository. Three new titles were added as of December 16, 2008. A list of titles can be found at the following link.

Since submitting our NDNP grant application, the Penn State University Libraries has added 34 titles to the Pennsylvania Civil War Newspaper Collection bringing the total to 51 titles from 19 Pennsylvania cities and towns.

4 Finalists for Digitization

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Take a look at our recommendation for digitizing four newspaper titles. Be sure to read the comments below for an explanation of how we got from five candidates to four finalists.

Electronic Format

Temporal Span of 4 Finalists.xls

Paper Format

Temporal Span of 4 Finalists.pdf