Shared Digital Access and Preservation Strategies for Serials at the Center for Research Libraries

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  • This article was downloaded by: [Stony Brook University]On: 26 October 2014, At: 12:42Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registeredoffice: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK

    The Serials Librarian: From the PrintedPage to the Digital AgePublication details, including instructions for authors andsubscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/wser20

    Shared Digital Access and PreservationStrategies for Serials at the Center forResearch LibrariesBernard F. Reilly a & James Simon aa Center for Research Libraries , Chicago, Illinois, USAPublished online: 28 Sep 2010.

    To cite this article: Bernard F. Reilly & James Simon (2010) Shared Digital Access and PreservationStrategies for Serials at the Center for Research Libraries, The Serials Librarian: From the PrintedPage to the Digital Age, 59:3-4, 271-280, DOI: 10.1080/03615261003619060

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  • The Serials Librarian, 59:271280, 2010Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLCISSN: 0361-526X print/1541-1095 onlineDOI: 10.1080/03615261003619060

    SERIALS COLLECTION MANAGEMENT INRECESSIONARY TIMES: PART 2

    Edited by Karen Lawson

    Shared Digital Access and PreservationStrategies for Serials at the Center

    for Research Libraries

    BERNARD F. REILLY and JAMES SIMONCenter for Research Libraries, Chicago, Illinois, USA

    The Center for Research Libraries and its members have engagedin several strategic programs in recent years to provide persistentaccess to electronic versions of its historical collections, particularlyserials. One of these programs is the World Newspaper Archive, apartnership of CRL member institutions and Readex, a division ofNewsBank. Through the World Newspaper Archive program, CRLprovides its members robust access to historical newspaper content,federates the costs of this large-scale undertaking, and provides forcommunity control over content, archiving provisions, and futurecollections.

    KEYWORDS newspaper digitization, Latin American news-papers, collaborative digitization

    INTRODUCTION

    The World Newspaper Archive (WNA), a collaborative effort of the Centerfor Research Libraries and its partner institutions, preserves and providespersistent electronic access to historical newspapers from around the globe.The effort grew out of increased interest among electronic publishers in digi-tizing newspaper collections from world regions held by major U.S. researchlibraries. Financial and in-kind support from CRL member institutions helpedlaunch the program in 2008.

    Address correspondence to Bernard F. Reilly, President, Center for Research Libraries,6050 S. Kenwood Ave., Chicago, IL 60637-2885, USA. E-mail: breilly@crl.edu

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    BACKGROUND

    Through a century of sustained investment in acquisition, documentation,and preservation, North American research libraries have amassed a largeand valuable corpus of newspapers from all regions of the world. Thoselibraries aggregate holdings of newspapers in paper and micro-formats con-stitute a body of historical and cultural evidence spanning four centuries,which is not, and could not be, replicated elsewhere.

    While preservation of global newspapers on microform has enjoyedsupport in the United States and elsewhere, until recently few effortsexisted to convert these resources to electronic format. The National DigitalNewspaper Program, the flagship effort in the United States, addresses onlyU.S. newspaper content and is still early in its implementation. Institutionsin Europe and other developed nations have begun efforts to convert theirown historical contents, but the scale of these efforts is daunting.

    In 2005 several major U.S. research libraries reported being approachedby electronic publishers proposing to digitize their holdings of newspapersfrom Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and other worldregions. A number of those libraries chose to explore the possibility oforganizing collectively rather than making individual arrangements with thepublishers. These libraries believed that by acting together, they could exerta stronger hand in dealing with the aggregators, and that the benefits of theundertaking might also accrue to the broader library community.

    The CRL was asked by its members to organize this collective effort.CRL has traditionally focused its cooperative preservation efforts on worldregions with less robust library and preservation infrastructure. Since 1956CRL has been microfilming news titles from Africa, Eastern Europe, LatinAmerica, the Middle East, and South and Southeast Asia. In addition, CRLhas served as the organizational umbrella for more than a dozen cooperativecollecting and preservation programs, providing communications, logisticaland financial management, and operational support.

    In 2006, CRL developed and issued a request for information (RFI) fora World Newspaper Archive, outlining the general goals and parametersof the digitization effort for publishers. CRL framed the effort not merelyas a digitization project, but as a means to ensure persistent digital accessto an extensive and important body of primary source materials under theaegis of the research libraries community. Encouraged by the response fromthe publishing community, CRL then issued a formal request for proposals(RFP) to identify the optimum partner for the program. NewsBank Inc.,parent company of Readex, was chosen as the organization that broughtthe greatest combination of past performance, technical capabilities, andcontent-area priorities to the endeavor.

    In June 2008, the World Newspaper Archive effort was launched toundertake the systematic, large-scale digitization of world newspapers and

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  • Shared Digital Access and Preservation Strategies for Serials 273

    news-related materials held by CRL and its participating libraries. The WNAwill be an ongoing, multiyear, and multistage endeavor wherein CRL andaffiliates combine expertise and resources to digitize and make availablefor scholarly use newspaper holdings from various world regions. The firstphase of the effort involves content from Latin America, starting initiallywith material in the public domain and extending the effort over a numberof phases. Details of the effort are currently found on the CRL website at:www.crl.edu/collaborative-digitization/world-newspaper-archive

    GOALS

    The World Newspaper Archive project has three major goals:

    1. Community Access. Readex, a division of NewsBank, will provide elec-tronic access to back files of newspapers from microform and paperholdings of CRL and several major newspaper repositories. Contributingrepositories for the first phase include Harvard University, the New YorkPublic Library, University of Florida, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Texas at Austin, University of Washington,University of California, Berkeley, and University of California, LosAngeles. The World Newspaper Archive will employ the robust andreliable search and discovery platform used by Readexs major news-paper databases: Early American Newspapers and Hispanic AmericanNewspapers. The annual access fee will be nominal for CRL members andpartner libraries that have contributed support and/or content to createthe collection.

    2. Persistence. CRL will ensure the long-term persistence and continuedfunctionality of the news content for its community, as well as CRL mem-ber control over the future costs and quality of that access. CRL will retainmicroform copies of all newspapers in the WNA, and Readex will providefor the archiving of the digital files generated by the project in a mannerapproved by CRL. Moreover, the process of locating and preparing thesematerials for digitization is generating valuable preservation metadata andinformation about existing holdings of these rare materials. CRL will makethis last-copy information available to guide library decisions about pre-serving and digitizing local holdings. The project is also subsidizing thecost of replacing lost, damaged, or deteriorated microform copies of thenewspapers.

    3. Growth. NewsBank shares with CRL a strong commitment to identify-ing and preserving primary source materials for international studies andresearch worldwide. This new working relationship will give the CRLlibrary community a voice in the digital conversion of the news collectionsthey have preserved for the past century in print and microform.

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    We also hope, with NewsBank, to make available to the CRL community agrowing collection of electronic news content on favorable terms.

    LATIN AMERICAN NEWSPAPERSTHE FIRST MODULE OF WNA(FIGURE 1)

    The WNA selected Latin America as the first area for collaboration,after broad consultation with the CRL membership, advisory groups, andcontributing partners.

    Latin American newspapers often have long and unbroken publishinghistories, dating back to the mid-19th century or earlier, allowing for extensiveexamination of events over time. The Latin American press has frequentlyplayed an important historic role in the education of society and the evolutionof democratic thinking. In Brazil, for example, the press was instrumental inthe development of political thought in the formation of the nation-state,the abolition of slavery, and the move toward independence. Similarly, inMexico, the press helped shape public opinion during the Mexican War ofIndependence from Spain. In other countries with fewer presses and lowerliteracy rates (such as Peru and Chile), the primacy of the popular press

    FIGURE 1 World Newspaper Archive: Latin American Newspapers title page.

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  • Shared Digital Access and Preservation Strategies for Serials 275

    occurred after independence but still played an important role: the broaddistribution of information formerly conveyed by word of mouth.

    Since the 1930s, considerable effort has been made by libraries andarchives to identify and preserve Latin Americas most important news sources.Harvard Universitys early microfilm efforts included a number of LatinAmerican newspaper titles from such countries as Argentina (La Capital, LaNacin, and La Prensa), Brazil (Jornal do Commercio), Colombia (El Tiempo),Peru (Comercio), Mexico (El Universal), and others. The Pan American Union(predecessor of theGeneral Secretariat of theOrganization of American States)also microfilmed more than a dozen titles from a variety of countries.

    In 1956, the ForeignNewspaperMicrofilmProject (FNMP)was establishedto provide worldwide coverage of representative foreign titles, with CRL asits administrative home. This collaborative program subsumed the earliermentioned efforts of Harvard and the Pan American Union and extended therange of titles from Latin America. The FNMP continues to film current titlesfrom numerous countries, available for purchase or loan through CRL.

    While organizations such as FNMP and the Library of Congress focusprimarily on currently published titles, CRLs Latin American MicroformProject (LAMP) has from its inception pursued historical back files of news-papers. Some of the earliest LAMP projects included the original filmingof Siempre from Mexico City (195387); the West Coast Leader (191240)from Lima, Peru; and the Buckley collection of newspaper clippings onrevolutionary Mexico, held at the University of Texas at Austin.

    Another significant source of content is the International Coalition onNewspapers (ICON), a multi-institutional cooperative effort to increase theavailability of international newspaper collections by improving both bib-liographic and physical access to these resources, and to preserve globalcultural heritage through the preservation of international newspaper col-lections held in the United States and abroad. Over the past decade, ICONhas preserved more than 840 reels and 45 newspaper titles from a variety ofregions. ICONs Latin American representation thus far has included news-papers from Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela,totaling 14 titles where significant gaps in preservation had been identified.

    Conversion of historical holdings has received significant support fromgovernmental organizations such as the Department of Education and theNational Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Major grants have allowedfor special collections of Latin American materials to be preserved, suchas Revolutionary Mexico in Newspapers, 19001929 and IndependentMexico in Newspapers from the 19th Century, both filmed by the Universityof Texas at Austin. Together, these two projects preserved runs of morethan 900 titles held by the Benson Collection and other North Americanlibraries.

    Numerous other institutions have pursued the historical record of LatinAmerican newspapers. Harvard University and New York Public Library

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    have supported preservation efforts with significant institutional funding.The University of Florida Libraries has been collecting Latin Americanresearch resources since the late 1920s. Its Latin American Collec...

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