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Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1836-1922 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities external link and the Library of Congress. Learn more

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Chronicling America is a Website providing access to information about historic newspapers and select digitized newspaper pages, and is produced by the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP). NDNP, a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Library of Congress (LC), is a long-term effort to develop an Internet-based, searchable database of U.S. newspapers with descriptive information and select digitization of historic pages. Supported by NEH, this rich digital resource will be developed and permanently maintained at the Library of Congress. An NEH award program will fund the contribution of content from, eventually, all U.S. states and territories.

More information on program guidelines, participation, and technical information can be found at http://www.neh.gov/projects/ndnp.html or http://www.loc.gov/ndnp/.

Building the Digital Collection

Newspaper Title Directory

The Newspaper Title Directory is derived from the library catalog records created by state institutions during the NEH-sponsored United States Newspaper Program (http://www.neh.gov/projects/usnp.html), 1980-2007. This program funded state-level projects to locate, describe (catalog), and selectively preserve (via treatment and microfilm) historic newspaper collections in that state, published from 1690 to the present. Under this program, each institution created machine-readable cataloging (MARC) via the Cooperative ONline SERials Program (CONSER) for its state collections, contributing bibliographic descriptions and library holdings information to the Newspaper Union List, hosted by the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC). This data, approximately 140,000 bibliographic title entries and 900,000 separate library holdings records, was acquired and converted to MARCXML format for use in the Chronicling America Newspaper Title Directory. Contact a CONSER member for updates and corrections to bibliographic records (see http://www.loc.gov/acq/conser/conmembs.html ) through CONSER. The Chronicling America Directory bibliographic records are updated annually from the CONSER dataset hosted by OCLC.

Selected Digitized Newspaper Pages

Each NDNP participant receives an award to select and digitize approximately 100,000 newspaper pages representing that state's regional history, geographic coverage, and events of the particular time period being covered. In order to plan for phased development, the annual award program began with targeting digitized material for the decade 1900-1910. In subsequent award years, the time period was gradually extended decade by decade, to cover the historic period 1836-1922.

Participants are expected to digitize primarily from microfilm holdings for reasons of efficiency and cost, encouraging selection of technically-suitable film, bibliographic completeness, diversity and "orphaned" newspapers (newspapers that have ceased publication and lack active ownership) in order to decrease the likelihood of duplicative digitization by other organizations.

These newspaper materials were digitized to technical specifications designed by the Library of Congress. These specifications include the following basic elements (profiles describing the full set of specifications can be found at http://www.loc.gov/ndnp/guidelines/) :

  • TIFF 6.0, 8-bit grayscale, 400 dpi, uncompressed, with specified tag values
  • JPEG2000, Part 1; 8-bit component; 6 decomposition layers; 25 quality layers; 8:1 compression; with XML Box with specified RDF metadata
  • Single page PDF with hidden text; downsampled to 150 dpi, using JPEG compression; with XMP containing specified RDF metadata.
  • Single page machine-readable text encoded in ALTO, v. 2.0 XML; in column-reading order (created with Optical Character Recognition).
  • METS XML data objects describing newspaper issues, pages, and microfilm reels; incorporating elements in MODS, PREMIS, and MIX formats.

Chronicling America provides access to these digitized historic materials primarily through a Web interface enhanced with dynamic HTML interactivity for magnification and navigation. Searches are available for both full-text newspaper pages and bibliographic newspaper records (the Newspaper Directory). Pages are displayed in JPEG format, dynamically-created from source files on user request and presented through the browser interface using a combination of Javascript, DHTML and AJAX Web programming.

Preservation Data Repository and Dissemination Application

The NDNP repository developed for Chronicling America is based on the Open Archive Information System (OAIS) Reference Model for preservation repository architecture and supported by a variety of modular components to enable long-term sustainability of data ingestion, archival management and data dissemination. The public website is built using the Python programming language, Django Web framework, RDFLib, Apache Solr search server, Apache Web server, and MySQL database engine. For more information, see http://www.loc.gov/ndnp/ or contact ndnptech@loc.gov.

Related Resources

Rights and Reproductions

The Library of Congress is providing access to bibliographic information and newspaper pages digitized under the National Digital Newspaper Program for noncommercial, educational and research purposes. While the Library is not aware of any copyrights or other rights associated with this material, the written permission of any copyright owners and/or other rights holders (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) is required for reproduction, distribution, or other use of any protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item and securing any necessary permissions ultimately rests with the persons desiring to use the item.

The NEH awardee responsible for producing each digital object is presented in the Chronicling America page display, above the page image – e.g. Image produced by the Library of Congress. For more information on current NDNP awardees, see http://www.loc.gov/ndnp/listawardees.html.

For more information on Library of Congress policies and disclaimers regarding rights and reproductions, see http://www.loc.gov/homepage/legal.html

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