Catholic Newspapers Select SmallTownPapers to Preserve Archives and Provide Online Hosting

Top Quote Catholic newspapers in the US have selected Washington state-based SmallTownPapers to scan historic newspaper archives and make them online accessible. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) June 19, 2011 - SmallTownPapers, Inc. is pleased to announce it has been chosen to preserve the historical, printed newspaper archives for Catholic newspapers across the country. A recognized leader in newspaper archive digitization, SmallTownPapers is scanning bound volumes, loose printed and microfilmed pages to create high-resolution, digital copies of the publications.

    Among the newspapers is Arkansas Catholic, the weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock, Arkansas, which started its newspaper, then The Southern Guardian, in March 1911. SmallTownPapers was selected to scan the archives and make them accessible online. Initially slated to scan only five volumes per year, the newspaper has now accelerated the scanning effort to digitize 20 additional volumes in 2011.

    "We started working with SmallTownPapers in 2010 to help us begin the digital archiving project for our centennial in March 2011," said Arkansas Catholic editor Malea Hargett. "We were impressed with the care they take in handling our 100-year-old bound volumes, the quality of their scanning and their free web hosting."

    Traditionally newspapers are printed on inexpensive, acidic wood pulp paper that breaks down over time and deteriorates with exposure to elements such as air, humidity and light which cause pages to discolor, crack and eventually disintegrate. SmallTownPapers' careful, high-quality scanning of even the oldest and most fragile printed archives creates a lasting digital copy of the newspaper as it was originally printed.

    Arkansas Catholic recognized the need to preserve its archived newspapers before they deteriorated any further, but didn't have adequate funding. The newspaper decided to challenge its readers, "to protect the history contained in archive issues," and readers responded by participating in the "Guardian Angels" fundraising campaign whose proceeds help cover production costs. As new funds become available, the newspaper can scan and add more issues to its online archive.

    In its inaugural issue, the Bishop of Little Rock John B. Morris wrote about the new endeavor, "I extend to it my blessing with the sincere hope that its career may be long and prosperous." One hundred years later, digitization is providing Arkansas Catholic with a way to extend the life of the newspaper by protecting the archived history of the Diocese's events and making the stories and perspectives within available to future generations.

    SmallTownPapers is proud to be a part of preserving Catholic newspapers' rich history and, during this year's Catholic Media Convention, will debut a new hosted solution for small publications where digital copies can be browsed and searched online. For more information, contact Carter Cheston - carter ( @ ) smalltownpapers dot com.

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