So, back to the lady's question. As we were locating the titles she needed (ILL requests have to have a title, not just a county plus "newspaper" in the title field), she produced a heavy sigh and asked if we would ever put these microfilmed newspapers online instead of having to go through all this each time - and she was in a location that allowed free loans - which speaks to the limitations of microfilm.
I told her we were certainly working on it, and tried to explain that transferring microfilm to digital images was very possible, being accomplished as we spoke, but would take many years, and many sources of funding to accomplish - and that's just on behalf of one state. We all are well aware of the LDS Library's efforts at digitizing their collection in Utah, but as a small state with limited resources, I thought it would be helpful to showcase a few online sources already up for those of you interested in Kentucky Newspaper research. Many of these new resources have been possible through nationally funded grants - but the process put in place, and the wonderful images produced will hopefully serve to secure more funding to keep the projects going.Links to Kentucky Newspapers online:
- The National Digital Newspaper Program: Kentucky Edition - Full of links to their digitized collection as well as a wonderful explanation of how the leap from microfilm to digital is being made.
- Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers - This is where the NDNP digitized Kentucky newspapers are deposited for access. This one is not just for Kentucky, but houses the images produced by other state recipients of the project grant. The images can be explored, cut, saved as images or pdfs - primed and ready for hardcore research!
Since I'm not one of the digital experts, here is a video about newspaper digitization efforts at the University of Kentucky.