By: Alex Roehrkasse
For those eager to recall their years on College Hill or curious about campus buzz across the ages, tracking down the right headlines has traditionally been a tedious affair. Whether for information on the “protest years” of the late sixties, the David Horowitz anti-reparations ad scandal of 2001 or other notable pieces of Brown lore, one used to have to sift through The Brown Daily Herald print archives housed in the John Hay Library.
But soon, a trip to the Herald archives will require nothing more than a click of the mouse.
In a joint venture with the University Library, The Herald is beginning to digitize its annals year by year, with the intention of ultimately making the whole archives viewable and keyword searchable - for students, alums, professors and other researchers – from the newspaper’s and the University Library’s Web sites. A pilot project has been completed, but former Herald staffers involved in the process and library officials say the archives’ full digitization hinges on further fund-raising.
Those involved in the project say The Herald has no current plans to digitize the Pembroke Record, the newspaper of the former neighboring women’s college, which published its last issue in 1971.
For the pilot, University archivists have cut some of The Herald’s backlogs from their bindings and shipped them off to Digital Divide Data, a company that specializes in scanning and processing documents for word recognition. An initial six academic years of the newspaper – 1891-92, 1903-1904, 1918-1919, 1941-1942, 1968-1969 and the spring semester of 1987 – were selected for the initial run. Earlier this month, the pilot became publicly available, on the Web site of the University Library’s Center for Digital Initiatives.
The digitization project began last fall when the large outgoing editorial board started looking for ways they could leave a lasting impact at The Herald, said former Senior Editor Anne Wootton ’08.5. After researching similar projects at peer institutions, Wootton said she brought the proposed project to an enthusiastic Herald board of directors. The Herald had recently received a donation earmarked specifically for digitization from Kristie Miller ’66, a former managing editor.
“The importance of this project has always been recognized, but it wasn’t always possible,” Wootton said.
By: Alex Roehrkasse