The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

Library digital archive available online

 

September 1, 2017



Sidney Public Library’s online digital newspaper archive is now available.

Sidney and Cheyenne County area newspapers from as far back as 1875 can now be searched from the comfort of home.

“We get a lot of requests from people to find information in the old local newspapers we have on microfilm,” Andrew Sherman, library director, said, “and the issue we have is, if the person doesn’t have a good idea of the date or a fairly limited date range for us to search, with our staff, it’s just not practical for us.”

Instead of loading up a reel of film and scrolling, the online archives works like a search engine.

“You simply put in a person’s name, the event name, if you have an idea for the date to keep the results trimmed down, you can put in a date range. It will bring up every page from best match to worst match,” Sherman said. “What’s nice is, the key words you put in then on that page as you bring up that page to view it are highlighted so you can see where it matched.”

The digital archive works well, Sherman said.

“The only limitation we’ve seen in the system is they really darkened the page out for the OCR, the optical character recognition,” he said. “So a lot of the pictures get really blacked out.”

The library, though, will be able to find the same edition on film and produce a higher quality of the picture, Sherman said.

The online digital archive was funded through a National Library Commission grant for $22,000 plus 25 percent matching funds.

“Going forward, as newspapers are sent into the Nebraska Historical Society, not only will they shoot that roll of film for us, so we’ll have that in our archive, too, we’ll also have it digitized and available on our searchable database,” Sherman said.

The digital archive became available for testing on Monday, Sherman said, and was met with instant success.

“The next day we had three people from out of town who happened to drop in,” he said. “Two were looking for information on their ancestors, one was a husband and wife author couple researching a book, and we able to use it right out of the gate to find information for all three of them.”

He added, “It’s amazing how much more valuable this tool is for making that history and information so accessible to everybody.”

The Digital Newspaper Archive icon can be found on the Sidney Public Library homepage, at sidneypubliclibrary.org, and is available to all internet users.

 

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