Rutgers to bring historic N.J. newspapers alive online – NJ.com

NEW BRUNSWICK — Some of New Jersey’s oldest and most historic newspapers could soon be available online thanks to a $186,000 federal grant.

Rutgers University Libraries will collaborate with the state archives and the state library to scan old newspaper microfilm and post more than 100,000 pages online, the school announced Thursday.

“From the Whig Papers to The Star-Ledger, New Jersey has a strong tradition of journalism. Prior to this digitization project, historians would travel to the New Jersey State Archives in Trenton or to a similar research institution and scroll through microfilm to find what they need,” said Ron Becker, head of special collections and university archives at Rutgers University Libraries.

Scholars use images to tell N.J.’s history

The collaboration, called the New Jersey Digital Newspaper Project, will focus on newspapers published between 1836 and 1922 and not currently available in digital format. The first batch of 25,000 pages should take two years to scan and post on the Library of Congress website Chronicling America.

The funding for the project comes from the National Endowment for the Humanities. New Jersey will be one of the last states to have its newspapers included on the Chronicling America website, which already includes papers from 43 states. 

Alaska, Colorado and Maine also recently received grants to digitize their state’s newspapers.

In New Jersey, archivists will begin by meeting with an advisory board next month to choose which newspapers and historical events to focus on.

“Our goals are ambitious,” said Caryn Radick, the project director and Rutgers University’s digital archivist. “We will focus on influential newspapers and historically important news or themes to maximize the benefit to users of Chronicling America.”

Kelly Heyboer may be reached at kheyboer@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @KellyHeyboer. Find her at KellyHeyboerReporter on Facebook.

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