For years, loyal readers, researchers and editorial staffers have yearned to flip through back issues of the various papers owned by Denton Publications, whether they want information from two years in the past, 20 years ago or all the way back in the 1800s. Well, we have some good news.
We recently signed an agreement with the Potsdam-based Northern New York Library Network to have News Enterprise issues from 1924 to the present digitized and placed on a searchable website. We will soon be part of the Northern New York Historical Newspapers project, located online at http://news.nnyln.net.
The Northern New York Library Network is a consortium of public, academic and specialized libraries chartered to improve library service for North Country residents. It has a long history of newspaper preservation, including preservation microfilming in the 1980s and local coordination of the New York State Newspaper Project in the 1990s.
In 2004, the network launched Northern New York Historical Newspapers to enhance access to the region’s local history. Serving seven counties — Essex, Franklin, Clinton, St. Lawrence, Lewis, Jefferson and Oswego — the online collection now contains almost 2.3 million pages from 52 newspapers. The newspapers span more than 200 years.
The oldest issues on the website come from the Plattsburgh Republican and date from 1811, three years before the famed Battle of Plattsburgh during the War of 1812. In the April 12, 1811 issue, we find out who has mail left at the post office, who died that week, who got married, who wrote letters to the editor, and which state senators’ seats needed to be filled during the lieutenant governor’s election.
For the history buff, the genealogy hobbyist and the serious researcher, Northern New York Historical Newspapers is a treasure trove of information. People can easily get mesmerized by the volumes of stories here. Time flies when you are having fun learning about local history.
The process of digitizing the News Enterprise from 1924 to the present will be routine. The Adirondack Museum’s librarian has graciously given us permission to use their microfilm copies of the paper and will loan them to the NNYLN. The microfilm will be scanned, and the images will be run through optical character recognition (OCR) software and be indexed. The indexed images will then be placed on the Network’s web server, interfaced with a search engine and made available to the public over the Internet.
When we began researching this project in February, we didn’t know how much the digitization project would cost or where we would put the issues online. After all, the Northern New York Historical Newspapers project does not serve most of the News Enterprise’s readership: the Warren County town of Johnsburg and the Hamilton County towns of Indian Lake and Long Lake. Luckily, our paper serves the Essex County towns of Minerva and Newcomb, so we were welcomed into the Network’s family.
And, because we are part of the family, digitizing the News Enterprise will be free for us. We can’t thank the Network and the Adirondack Museum enough for their generosity.
We’re not sure when the back issues of the News Enterprise will be available online, but we’re hoping it will be sometime in 2012. We hope to get even more historic newspapers online in the future.
Other newspapers in the Denton lineage currently available on Northern New York Newspapers are the Ticonderoga Sentinel (forefather of the Times of Ti), the Rouses Point North Countryman (forefather of the North Countryman) and the Essex County Republican (forefather of the Valley News).
Our history is there:
“This issue of the Essex County Republican begins a new chapter in this paper’s long and distinguished career of service to its many North Country readers,” began the May 10, 1968 issue of the Essex County Republican, announcing that Denton Publications had acquired the Essex County Republican.
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