A new revenue source for publishers.

revenueWith the upcoming launch of Discover America’s Story by SmallTownPapers, Inc., comes a fresh new way to generate revenue for your community or small town newspaper.  The program was designed to bring in new revenue which can be used to support the preservation and digitization of the newspaper’s printed archive.  It’s built on the tried and true method of selling ads against content but it has a fresh and important spin – historical preservation and an invaluable service for your community. Perhaps best of all – the newspaper sets its own ad rates and keeps all revenue generated!

Scroll down to our previous post to learn about this new program for newspaper publishers and stay tuned for more details on the July launch.  If you’re a publisher and you’d like to be among the first to sign on, contact us at 360.427.6300.

Be sure to socialize with Discover America’s Story.  Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

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SmallTownPapers Introduces Discover America’s Story

Discover-America-Vertical-gold-blackOklahoma’s The Mooreland Leader newspaper has become the first to sign onto Discover America’s Story – a new nationwide program launched by SmallTownPapers to preserve history from small town America. The program makes it possible for the Leader to digitize its newspaper archive dating back to 1903 and make it online accessible for everyone to enjoy.

“Years ago, I microfilmed the archive but it still wasn’t in a format that my community could easily and conveniently search and explore,” explained Tim Schnoebelen, publisher of the Mooreland Leader. “I didn’t have the resources to take the next step to convert the files to a digital format but when I heard about Discover America’s Story, I knew that was exactly the opportunity we had been waiting for.”

Discover America’s Story provides small town and community newspaper publishers with a ready-to-go ad program which makes it easy for them to secure local sponsorships to support archive digitization. Sponsorships provide the resources needed to digitize and the Discover America’s Story offers affordable scanning and online hosting services. Mooreland has already secured several early program sponsors and has begun converting its oldest archive issues.

“The Mooreland Leader is a unique project for us,” noted Discover America’s Story creator Paul Jeffko. “While we created Discover America’s Story for newspaper’s with only loose printed or bound volume archives, we were able to deploy our technology onto the microfilm files and make them online searchable.”

As they are processed, the digital issues are being uploaded to the Leader’s dedicated archive webpage (mor.stparchive.com) where anyone can access and search the issues for free. Accessibility is one driver but equally important to publishers today is the digital preservation of the archive so their content is not at risk of being lost should something happen to the bound volume or loose printed copies.

“Discover America’s Story is giving everyone with a connection to Mooreland a gift they can enjoy and share today and for generations to come. We’re proud to be a part of this landmark newspaper archive program which recognizes the unique history and perspective that exists in America’s small towns like ours,” added Schnoebelen.

Launched in June 2015, Discover America’s Story is available for the thousands of American small town and community newspaper publishers. The result is a completely new online historical resource, a national repository of scanned newspaper archives exclusively from the heart and soul of America. Learn more at www.discoveramericasstory.com.

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Overcoming the Challenges of Archive Digitization

There are numerous challenges that come with wanting to digitize decades of newspaper archives.  Some were detailed in an article on Nooga.com this week, written by Sean Phipps, about efforts underway to digitize newspapers from Chattanooga, Tennessee.

ChattanoogaTimesLogoA statewide effort is underway to scan old microfilm from newspapers with 88 historical papers currently available online but past issues of the Chattanooga Times and Chattanooga News are available today only in microfilm.  One local individual wants to help but others involved including the library want to proceed in a different way.  While everyone recognizes the increasing interest in accessing the archives online, there are issues such as funding, grant applications and vendor selection which are slowing down the process.  The author points out, “The silver lining is that a conversation has been started about preserving Chattanooga’s historical papers, and the public could soon benefit from the results.”

SmallTownPapers helps newspapers, libraries and historical societies get through the red tape.  It provides high quality and affordable digitization solutions mainly scanning from the original printed page – often using the bound volume archives from newspapers.  Scanning from the original page generally provides a clear digital image.  The original issues are shipped and handled with care by experts in the field.  The issues and books are never cut or taken apart for scanning and they are safely returned as the process is completed.  The resulting searchable digital images of the newspapers are then hosted online.  Click here to learn more about the process.

The program has been used by hundreds of newspapers and organizations across the country including small town newspapers in Tennessee.  Perhaps the folks in Chattanooga might want to check in with Waverly, Tennessee’s The News-Democrat which successfully has scanned and made online accessible some of its archive going back to 1955.

Contact SmallTownPapers, Inc. to learn how your project can get started today.

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Easily Digitize Printed or Bound Volume Newspaper Archives Today

Communities across the country are ramping up their newspaper archive digitization projects as they see increased interest in the history contained within the pages.  Writers, researchers, genealogists and educators are among those crying out for convenient online access to the rich history of America’s small towns and the way its people and events were covered by the local newspaper.

SmallTownPapers was founded after its president saw firsthand the inaccessibility of small market newspaper archives.  He was stunned that so many newspaper publishers never had the resources to microfilm or digitize the newspapers leaving them with an archive of a single printed issue of each paper often placed in bound volumes stored at the newspaper office.

Having only a printed archive means that the newspaper staff has a hard time retrieving information from old issues and the front office, which routinely receives requests for information (especially with the tremendous growth in genealogy research), will have to spend time retrieving past issues or the correct bound volume for the customer.  These archives are difficult to search, are increasingly fragile, and are vulnerable to events like a building fire, flood, or in the case of an Oklahoma newspaper recently, a roof collapse.  The history in the pages is literally at risk every day.

BrewsterHerald1909SmallTownPapers began with the Quad City Herald (formerly Brewster Herald) in Washington state.  Our company founder was working there when he caught a glimpse of the newspaper’s bound volume archives dating back to the early 1900s.  It was this rural newspaper that inspired him to create an affordable yet quality way to preserve historic archives. It would have to include safe shipping since often there was only a single copy of the newspaper remaining, the pages would have to be scanned intact and appear just as the paper was printed, and it would need to provide an option for easy online hosting. Publishers Ike and Doris Vallance loved the idea of making the history-rich archives accessible for their community and became the first to sign on to the idea in 1999.  The company designed specifically to help small town publishers was born.

Since that time, hundreds of newspapers and millions of archive pages have been scanned and placed online by SmallTownPapers and the program continues to grow.  In addition to working with publishers, we’re now proud to also work with historical societies, universities, libraries, alumni organizations and others who have print archives.  In addition to newspapers, we have scanned yearbooks and organization newsletters, university newspapers, and in northern California, we’re scanning a community’s historic water maps.

Wondering what you’ll find in small town newspaper archives beyond coverage of town celebrations, marriages, obituaries, coverage of high school sports and city council meetings?  It was a small town in Iowa that is home to the Surf Ballroom – the venue where Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper had performed before their doomed flight in 1959.  One of our newspapers covered the early days of the town which is now home to tech giant Microsoft while another gives you a look at what island life was like on Martha’s Vineyard in 1846.  These archive pages truly document the story of America like no other.

Contact SmallTownPapers to learn more.  Email karen@smalltownpapers.com or call our Washington state office at 360.427.6300 and find out how to get started with your archive digitization project.

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Monroe Historical Society Turns to SmallTownPapers to Digitize Papers

MonroeMonitorA great article came out today about the digitization project underway of The Monroe Monitor Transcript in Washington state.  The Monroe Historical Society is managing the project with a goal of preserving the area’s written history and making it online accessible and searchable for the community.  They are working with SmallTownPapers to make the online resource a reality.  The newspapers date back to 1899 and the digitized issues can be viewed at mhs.stparchive.com as the scanning is completed.

Historical Society volunteer Chris Bee was quoted in the article saying, “I feel that this is the most important service that we provide to the community, and it also preserves the papers because the older ones, especially, are pretty fragile.”

Click here to read the article in The Monroe Monitor and Valley News.

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The Importance of Your Local Newspaper

An editorial in the Denver Post today says “Newspapers are the first draft of history and our most thorough, reliable look into the past.

It’s exactly why SmallTownPapers, Inc. was created years ago – to help small market newspaper publishers preserve the official recorded history of their communities.  These are the newspapers that may not have had the resources to microfilm their archives years ago and few have resources at hand to begin digitizing a hundred years worth of past issues and then host them online for people to access and search.

SmallTownPapers helps provide affordable solutions for newspaper publishers who want to preserve and protect their documented history for future generations.

Click here to read the piece written by Tom Noel which also promotes a new book about Colorado Newspapers.

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Oklahoma Newspaper Office Roof Collapse Narrowly Misses Archive

ClevelandAmericanThis week, there was a great reminder of why so many newspapers are finally moving forward and finding ways to digitize their printed archives.  In the Oklahoma town of Cleveland, there was a roof collapse at a newspaper office which narrowly missed the paper’s printed archive.  The archive consists of a single copy of each issue of the newspaper dating back to the early 1900s.  They contain the rich history of this American small town.  Digitizing the archive preserves a community’s history and places it online for everyone to access, research and share.

Contact ArchiveInABox today to learn more about how to affordably make your newspaper archive digitization project a reality.

>>Cleveland, Oklahoma roof collapse article – Feb. 6, 2015

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The Race to Digitize Newspaper Archives

volume2A quick search online will reveal a huge trend this year – more newspapers than ever before are being digitized and placed online for the world to enjoy.

Publishers want to give people easy access to information, reduce the number of inquiries their staff has to manage and digitally protect for future generations the wealth of information their archives hold.

In the past, money and time were obstacles to digitization.  Only large daily newspapers seem to have the available resources.  But today, digitization is a manageable endeavor and there are so many grants and creative fundraising options available to make it happen.

At ArchiveInABox, we’ve had numerous cases where individuals in the community have helped pay for digitization and in some cases, historical societies, alumni organizations and other groups have been able to secure grants allowing them to initiate scanning and eventually house their archive online where it can be easily accessed, searched and enjoyed by everyone.

To get a feel for the newspaper digitization efforts underway around the world, check out a few of the recent newspaper digitization stories in the news:

SmallTownPapers’ ArchiveInABox is a digitization solution for newspaper publishers and organizations who have bound volume or loose printed archives. ArchiveInABox offers an affordable, easy and safe process. The original materials are shipped in military grade containers, scanned intact (no cutting), and safely returned to the source.  ArchiveInABox also provides online hosting. Contact ArchiveInABox today to find out how you can get started.

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Local Grants Help Digitize Newspaper Archives

bothellSmallTownPapers’ ArchiveInABox is about to begin phase two of a great historical preservation project in a town north of Seattle. The Woodinville Heritage Society received Heritage Collection Care grant from King County, Washington’s cultural services agency – 4Culture. The grant will fund Phase 2 of Spread the News – a project to digitize the archive of the Bothell Sentinel and Citizen newspaper and make it online accessible and searchable.

Phase 1 of the project was recently completed thanks to a grant secured by the Bothell Historical & Museum Society. That portion of the archive is already available for free via its dedicated webpage available here.

The Woodinville Heritage Society was awarded 4Culture’s largest heritage grant in 2014 receiving more than $8000 to preserve the history contained in the newspaper archive. 4Culture, according to its website, supports projects “promoting and encouraging professional standards and practices in the collection, preservation, assessment and perpetual care of historic and culture materials, artifacts and archival records pertaining to the heritage of King County.”

4Culture 2014 grants are also helping two other digitization projects underway with ArchiveInABox. The Redmond Historical Society is digitizing the Sammamish Valley News and the JTNews is digitizing the archive of Seattle’s Jewish newspaper, The JTNews.

Check out the local heritage grants that may be available in your community.  You can learn more about 4Culture’s grant program and how to apply by visiting www.4culture.org.

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What You Need to Know Before Digitizing Your Archive.

It’s amazing what you might hear from a scanning provider who wants to earn your business — here are the top “fascinating falsehoods” regularly pitched to publishers:

  1. Bound book archives must be cut apart to scan and digitize.  FALSE
    No, your books do not have to be cut.  We scan all material intact including delicate materials like aging newspapers, whether loose or in bound volumes.
  2. Printed archives have to be microfilmed before digitizing.  FALSE
    Scanning can be done directly from printed material such as bound volumes, and will yield a superior image quality over that of microfilm. This means photos and illustrations will be clear and sharp. Scanning from microfilm should be done only if you don’t have the original newspapers.
  3. If you scan from the original printed page, there will be bleedthrough from the other side.  FALSE
    Our scans do not pick up bleedthrough – the pages are clean and easy to read.
  4. You should always scan to PDF file format.  FALSE
    PDF file format is great for searching and accessing individual editions, but limits what can be done in the online environment. Always insist that your digital copies are produced in the high resolution TIFF file format — from here you can save to any format, including PDF. ArchiveInABox uses non-proprietary, open source file formats in its hosting program which are far superior to PDF for online searching.
  5. You have to pay a hosting fee to put the digital archive online.  FALSE
    ArchiveInABox provides online hosting for those wanting it — without an additional charge.
  6. You have to license software and pay every year.  FALSE
    With ArchiveInABox, there are no software licensing fees. Our program is all inclusive for a one-time price.
  7. You have to ship your entire archive to our scan center.  FALSE
    When you select ArchiveInABox to produce your digital copies, you receive the benefit of our proven and repeatable production and logistics process, including the use of our heavy duty shipping containers.  You ship small amounts of your archive at any given time.

Know what you’re getting before you sign an agreement to scan your archives.  You want a partner who will be there with you throughout the process and will make it easy for your customers to access and search the archives online today and for years to come.

SmallTownPapers’ ArchiveInABox solution specializes in scanning full size loose and bound printed newspaper archives. We work with hundreds of newspaper publishers and historical stakeholders, such as libraries and historical societies, nationwide.

If you want to know more, give us a call today – 360.427.6300.

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