Monday, December 15, 2008

Chronicling America update

On Friday, December 12, Chronicling America was updated to show all 37 of Kentucky's Phase One titles. They are....

Adair County news

American Baptist

The Bee

Blue-grass Blade

Bourbon News

Breathitt County news

Breckenridge news

Central Record (Lancaster)

The Citizen (Berea)

Clay City Times

Frankfort Roundabout

Frankfort Weekly News and Roundabout

Hartford Herald

Hartford Republican

Hazel Green Herald

Hickman Courier

Hopkinsville Kentuckian

Interior Journal


Kentucky Irish American

Kentucky Reporter

Kentucky Vindicator

Liberty (La Center)

Mountain Advocate (Barbourville)

Mt. Sterling Advocate

Mount Vernon Signal

Ohio Valley Worker

Owingsville Outlook

Paducah Evening Sun

Paducah Sun

Paducah Sun (Weekly edition)

Paducah Weekly Sun

Record (Greenville)

Richmond Climax

Semi-weekly Interior Journal

Sunday Chat

Winchester News

Friday, December 12, 2008

the middle of the end?

Today it was reported that one of the largest newspapers, Detroit Free Press and partner Detroit News, are considering scaling back their home delivery service to three days only; Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. A formal announcement is expected by Tuesday. This sort of down-sizing is not necessarily unusual for smaller publications but Detroit's is perhaps the largest scale-down to date. Stay tuned. Undoubtedly there will be more to follow.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Crittenden Record-Press

While evaluating a microfilm reel from 1909 of the Crittenden Record-Press, the following snippet caught our eye:

"Preachers and newspaper editors and correspondents are not the only fools in the world. Did you ever think of that? There are others! And sometimes they talk out on the street. I overheard two of them the other day talking about Masons and Dixons line. Both of them had 'Bug House' qualities that made them eligible for membership in the Gimlet Club..."

The two "Bug House" fools didn't pique our curiosity as much as the Gimlet Club. It was a comic strip by Charles H. Wellington. You can see examples of the Gimlet Club at Barnacle PressBarnacle briefly describes Gimlet Club members this way; "Membership is by invitation only, reserved for those special bores and blowhards one might see practicing their craft on unsuspecting folks about town." 

Friday, November 21, 2008

Kentucky loses top publisher

From our friends at The Rural Blog comes this: "Thomas E. Gish, who set an inspirational standard for courage in rural journalism, died today (November 21, 2008) amid the Appalachian Mountains he struggled to protect as publisher of The Mountain Eagle in Whitesburg, Ky. He was 82. His wife, Pat, survives, and his son, Ben, is editor of the paper."

Monday, November 3, 2008

one more

This blog post from a prof/attorney who specializes in copyright law and the Internet.

From Lawrence Lessig's 'about me' page: "Lawrence Lessig is a Professor of Law at Stanford Law School and founder of the school's Center for Internet and Society...For much of his career, Professor Lessig focused on law and technology, especially as it affects copyright...Professor Lessig teaches and writes in the areas of constitutional law, contracts, and the law of cyberspace." 

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

...and this

...from Chris O'Brien at the Mercury News in California. If you're into Brewster Kahle and the Open Content Alliance, you'll want to read this.

there's more in the news today

more about Google's settlement and future digitization from the New York Times

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

now what are they up to?

Just announced was Google's new deal with publishers and authors for in-copyright and/or out-of-print books. This from the Association of American Publishers and this from Google Central. I like Google as much as the next person but I'm starting to feel like they're Microsoft. 

Is there a competitor? 

At this year's annual NDNP gathering, we talked a lot about the shrinking number of vendors who can meet (or are willing to meet) the NDNP spec. That narrowing margin is making some of us uncomfortable, and understandably so - whatever vendor is left standing can basically call the shots (not that they would but history suggests this could happen). Drawing on my limited knowledge of market lingo, competition is the market's brand of a check and balance system. Without that, who's looking after the consumer?

The first thing that popped into my mind about this new deal was: Knowing that everyone wants digital access means libraries will pay for some goods twice. That could solve a lot of problems, certainly, but it also means someone besides the library is storing what we've paid for and... oh wait, this is starting to sound like journals! There are libraries with obsolete formats that nothing can read anymore because of this nice for everyone. Need I go on?

If Google has no competitor for book digitization, then who is going to compete with them on the more tenacious formats like newspapers or A/V? There's NDNP, sure, but at only 100,000 pages in two years from each of us, we can't compete with the volume Google can afford to produce. Forget quality and preservation for now, users want access and they're not going to consider the preservation and quality and, of course, they think Google is all that and a bag of Doritos! They couldn't possible botch this.

Plus, with this new agreement is born the book equivalent of the ASCAP and BMI of music royalty overseers. The Books Rights Registry, they're calling it.  So, now I'm thinking: Where does this stop?

Maybe it's not as much a monopoly as it seems. If you can make me feel better about Gargantuan Google, I'm listening!

....Oh, I'll have more to say about Google and newspapers later- thanks to all your comments, keep 'em coming (I promise they'll post much faster from now on).

Monday, October 20, 2008

google and newspapers

Recently, when Google announced it was getting into the newspaper digitization business, many of us digitizing newspapers already took note. And who wouldn't? It's Google: they do a lot of great things and they've got a lot of money to do more. They've tried their hand at books so it's only natural that newspapers should follow. Their announcement wasn't unexpected.
(Google sample newspaper page)

Nevertheless, it gave us pause to consider the impact(s) this might have on our own digitization efforts in several key areas:

  • the long-term preservation of the digital data....quality imaging not withstanding (see below) 
  • for those of us funded by grants - our livelihoods
  • and, most importantly, title selections

I can't imagine Google would have financial worries for maintaining the enormous amount of data these newspapers generate. Even if they save their master files in a compressed format like JPG, JP2 or, God forbid some lesser format, they're still faced with loads of material to save in perpetuity. Choosing the right format and thinking in forever terms are but two issues involved with digital preservation, all of which are beyond the scope of this posting.

As to our livelihoods - between Google and the current economic collapse/crisis, it feels kind of silly to even talk about. Let's just be thankful to have a jobs and leave it at that for now.

But title selection is a different animal altogether. If you're an NDNP awardee, as we are here at the University of Kentucky, then you're bound by the NEH rules. Of particular importance here is the fact that we cannot digitize titles that have been digitized by another entity, whether it's a commercial entity or someone like Google who may make them freely available. 

Some argue that there's plenty to go around, and that's a reasonable enough argument. There are millions, if not billions, of historic newspaper pages waiting to be digitized. So, yes, there's plenty to do in that respect. But what happens to "collections"? What happens to their preservation? And who is responsible for those two things?

Picture this: what would you think if you, as a researcher - professional or layperson - landed upon a website that had tons of newspaper pages only to find that just a few newspaper titles are available? Would you feel cheated? Would you feel like you've wasted your time because, now, you have to keep looking for what you need? Or would you feel satisfied?

Take Chronicling America or our own Kentuckiana Digital Library...How strange would it be to look at Kentucky's newspapers at the end of NDNP's 20 year cycle to find we have every historic Kentucky newspaper except Louisa's Big Sandy News or the Kentucky Reporter, for instance? Wouldn't it seem odd for the University of Kentucky - the state's flagship University and Kentucky's sole NDNP content provider - to have everything except those two titles? Would you feel cheated? Would you feel like you've wasted your time because, now, you have to keep looking for what you need? Or would you feel satisfied?

And what would we say, as an arbitor for the state's historic collections and digital preservation, to those newspapers who may have opted to have their titles digitized by Google or some other outfit instead of UK when their stuff comes up missing, corrupt, distorted, or otherwise unusable? "Since you didn't let us preserve the material it's just lost. Sorry about your luck, Mr. Publisher.

In fact, it's not the publisher who stands to lose, but all of us - Kentuckian, American, Global citizens alike. Newspapers are a shared history and should be free to everyone. Further, it seems childish to want anything but the best preservation standards applied to every single page, no matter what your role may be. After all, who are we making this stuff for if not our children, or our children's children? Is it simply to glorify ourselves or is it really because this stuff matters?

I'd like to think it's the latter.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Rural Journalism and...

...National Newspaper Week....the two important points to mention today.

First, the National Newspaper Week is October 5-11 so, technically, it's next week ,but I thought it was timely to mention since I've had a recent interest in the University of Kentucky's Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues.

It was from the Institute's site that I learned about next week's honor. Just a snippet of their content on the subject: For most newspapers, National Newspaper Week has been a ho-hum activity, often if not usually ignored. Now, with the future of newspapers in doubt, the annual observance may never have been more relevant. The theme this year is somewhat narrow, but still important: the need for paid publication of legal notices in print, as opposed to free and online...We encourage newspapers to fly the flag for public notice, but also to remind readers of the societal value of a local newspaper, something the writers of the Bill of Rights had in mind when they wrote the First Amendment.

More on the Institute for Rural Journalism to come. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

commonwealth defined

Kentucky is one of four American states designated as a commonwealth; Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Massachusetts being the other three. 

What does that mean exactly?

The English noun commonwealth dates from the fifteenth century. The original phrase "common wealth" or "the common weal" comes from the old meaning of "wealth" which is "well-being". The term literally meant "common well-being". ...cite

In the terminology of the United States insular areas, a Commonwealth is a type of organized but unincorporated dependent territory. ...cite

A form of government, named for the concept that everything that is not owned by specific individuals or groups is owned collectively by everyone in the governmental unit, as opposed to a state, where the state itself owns such things; Approximately, a republic ...cite

Monday, September 22, 2008

Paducah Sun

Paducah’s oldest continuously published daily newspaper, The Paducah Sun began in 1877. After more than 130 years, The Paducah Sun continues to print from its McCracken County home at the confluence of the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers. The Paxton family is still at the helm, having owned the paper since the beginning. Today, The Paxton Media Group owns 32 daily and 7 weekly newspapers in 10 states plus one TV station (NBC affiliate, WPSD – connoting Paducah Sun-Democrat).

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Kentucky newspapers available in Chronicling America and the Kentuckiana Digital Library:

Adair County News
American Baptist
Bee (Earlington)
Blue Grass Blade
Bourbon News
Breathitt County News
Breckenridge News
Central Record
Citizen (Berea)
Clay City Times
Frankfort Weekly News & Roundabout
Hartford Herald
Hartford Republican
Hazel Green Herald
Hickman Courier
Hopkinsville Kentuckian
Interior Journal
Kentucky Irish American
Kentucky Reporter
Kentucky Vindicator
Liberty (LaCenter)
Mount Vernon Signal
Mountain Advocate
Mt. Sterling Advocate
Ohio Valley Worker
Owingsville Outlook
Paducah Sun
Paducah Sun Weekly Edition
Paducah Weekly Sun
Paducah Evening Sun
The Sunday Chat
Record (Greenville)
Richmond Climax
Semi-Weekly Interior Journal
Winchester News

Newspapers exclusive to Kentuckiana Digital Library

Afro-American Mission-Herald
Springfield Sun

Titles Earmarked for NDNP Phases II and III digitization:

Big Sandy News
Crittenden Press
Daily Public Ledger
Evening Bulletin
Frankfort Roundabout
Herald Ledger
Logan County News
Middlesboro Record
Middlesborough News
Spout Spring Times
Weekly Roundabout

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Kentucky Council on Archives

There's a short piece in the fall newsletter for KCA about Kentucky's historic newspapers. On either end of the piece were articles about blogs and wikis being used by a variety of statewide archives in really thought-provoking ways. It's good to see this sort of movement afoot in the profession.

Incidentally, KY-NDNP now has a facebook group page. If you're on facebook please feel free to join us - it's a global group open to everyone.

Monday, September 15, 2008

did you know?

Kentucky has 120 counties. The most of any state except Texas with a whopping 254. Yet Kentucky is roughly only 1/6th the size of Texas; 40,409 square miles to 268,820 sq. mi. respectively. Somebody better at math than me could figure out the county size ratio difference....<hint hint>

Sunday, September 14, 2008

the first post

Welcome to the Kentucky edition of NDNP.