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Project would make 30 million old newspaper pages searchable online

Thursday, January 1, 2004


An initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Library of Congress will digitize millions of pages of historical newsprint and place them online. The goal of the National Digital Newspaper Program is to post 30 million newspaper pages originally printed between 1836 and 1922, replacing the current system of microfilm records of old papers. Bruce Cole, chairman of the NEH, announced the initiative at the National Press Club, saying that providing easy access to such historical records serves as an effective tool in the fight against what he called "American amnesia." When the newspapers are online, said Cole, everyone will have "immediate, unfiltered access to the greatest source of our history." Newspapers printed before 1836 will not be included because earlier typefaces cannot be read effectively by optical scanners; newspapers published after 1923 are covered by copyright restrictions.

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