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May 2014 Newsletter
Top 10 Tips to consider before starting your newspaper digitization project
1. Consider the entire project and all its steps from the outset, and talk to all your proposed vendors/suppliers early in the planning process.

2. Often the decisions you make about the platform the finished collection will reside on will affect the type/format of digital objects you need to produce. Don’t be tempted to start scanning/digitizing before you make decisions about hosting platforms and long term preservation.

3. Consider which parts of the project you’re able to do yourself and which you might outsource. For example, if the project is not too large you might consider doing the scanning work in-house, if you have suitable equipment. For larger projects though it might make sense to outsource all the scanning and data preparation work.

4. Carefully consider how the project fits with (and differs from) your other digitization projects. Is the platform and/or workflow you’ve used for previous digitization projects suitable for newspapers? Are there better alternatives?

5. Get advice from those who have worked on large newspaper digitization projects before. Newspaper projects have unique characteristics and are often more complex than other types of digitization projects and you are likely to get good advice from institutions that have gone through the process. Following a similar approach/workflow to that you’ve developed for other types of projects may not always be the best option.

6. Produce digital objects in the METS/ALTO format. If done correctly it should not cost more to produce METS/ALTO than something simpler like PDF, and there are many benefits to doing so.

7. Evaluate your scanning/digitization options carefully. If your newspapers have already been microfilmed it is easier and less expensive to scan from microfilm than from originals. Scanning from microfilm also gives you a larger choice of vendors, since microfilms are much more easily transported than original newspapers. On the flip side, scanning from originals may produce better digital images.

8. If using different vendors for scanning and OCR, as is often the case for large newspaper projects, or if you’re doing the scanning in-house, talk to the people responsible for the OCR process early in the project. If possible send sample images to the OCR vendor prior to going ahead with large-scale scanning. Filters and image processing algorithms applied after scanning to make images “look nice” can often have a detrimental effect on OCR accuracy.

9. Consider the costs and benefits of “article segmentation”. Many modern newspaper digitization projects now do this, to allow individual newspaper articles to be identified on the page. Article segmentation is generally considered to provide a nicer user experience, but there is additional cost. Typically you might expect it to cost $0.30 - $0.50 per page to digitize newspapers without article segmentation, or $0.70 - $1.00 with it.

10. Consider running a pilot project with a small number of newspaper pages, prior to making any final decisions. Many scanning, OCR, and hosting platform vendors are willing to process a small number of samples and put them online for evaluation, for little or no cost. Doing so allows you to ensure the entire process works as expected before you commit to it.
This Top 10 list is the first segment in a new series.  We will publish a new top 10 list on our Knowledge Base each month and include the list in our newsletter. 

Next month’s list:  Top 10 things you may not know about Veridian Software.
Case Study:  Conversion from Olive ActivePaper to Veridian Software
In September, 2012, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library formed a Newspaper Delivery and Preservation Working Group to discuss the sustainability of the Library’s repository architecture for managing the preservation of and access to digital newspaper collections.  The working group evaluated the APA software it was using for the Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections and decided it was not meeting the needs of the library and the users.  After some consideration they recommended the university chose the Veridian Software, developed by DL Consulting.
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Spotlight on:  
The Virginia Chronicle

The Virginia Chronicle is a collection of over 60 digitized newspaper titles offered by the Library of Virginia as a free resource to all patrons.  The digital collection houses the Virginia newspapers in Chronicling America plus additional special interest titles.  User text correction is proving popular among the growing community of registered users and collectively they have corrected well over 100,000 lines of text.  The collection is a part of the Virginia Memory project and the library will continue to add historic Virginia newspaper titles as they become available.
Free Veridian Demo
Test out Veridian for your collection of digital media:  newspapers, photographs, books, journals, manuscripts, audio files, and/or video files.  Send us your sample data and within 1 week you will have access to your very own Veridian digital collection to review, share, and test.  Contact us for more information.
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