SmallTownPapers Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is SmallTownPapers?
A: SmallTownPapers, Inc. scans historic newspaper archives and uses Internet technology to make the digital copies accessible to anyone with a computer.  SmallTownPapers works with publishers to create high quality images of newspaper archives that are completely searchable online through the SmallTownPapers website. Today, SmallTownPapers has more than 230 newspapers in its program representing 46 states.  The archives date as far back as 1846 (The Vineyard Gazette from Edgartown, MA).

Q: How is SmallTownPapers different from other digital newspaper archiving tools?
A: A traditional searchable archive is a text file and provides the reader with the ability to search published articles. SmallTownPapers creates digital images of superior quality by scanning directly from the printed newspaper pages. The newspapers are scanned intact and returned to the newspaper.  Viewers see the newspaper just as it was printed and can search for any term appearing on the page in articles, photographs and advertisements.

Q: Who will be interested in accessing the SmallTownPapers archives?
A: The archives of newspapers from America’s small towns possess inherent value holding substantial unique information that does not appear in regional or national newspapers. This information is valuable to numerous segments of society including researchers, genealogists, historians, governments and legal professionals. Previously, accessing these archives meant an individual had to travel to the location where each archive is stored and then sift manually through each page looking for the information desired. SmallTownPapers creates high-quality images of the newspapers and places them in an internet accessible digital archive that is completely searchable. Millions of pages of information can be accessed from a single source using a common Internet browser.

Q: Aren’t these newspapers creating their own digital archives?
A: Many independent publishers who produce these newspapers generally operate with a strict budget and can rarely afford to create digital archives of their papers. Very few were even recorded on microfilm. Creating digital images of an entire newspaper archive is an expensive and time-consuming endeavor for newspapers with tight budgets and limited staffs. If some type of archive is not created, these newspapers will eventually deteriorate and then disappear altogether due to the frailty of newsprint paper. Additionally, as the bound volume archives become more fragile, it is risky to have people handling them to conduct their research. SmallTownPapers has a program designed specifically for small market newspapers which makes the technology and production services available at no cost to the publisher.

Q: Which newspapers can place their archives on the SmallTownPapers website?
A: The newspapers must be small community-based publications serving a certain geographic area and the newspaper must produce its own content.  Newspapers which do not qualify for the small town newspaper program are able to our ArchiveInABox products to digitize bound volume newspapers and make them online accessible.  Visit for details.

Q:  Does SmallTownPapers have other programs and products available?
A:  SmallTownPapers has created additional products like ArchiveInABox mentioned above.  The company created Small Town News to help make current small market news articles available to a wider audience.  Our work with publishers and others in the newspaper and media industry over the past decade also led to the company creating a contest platform specifically for journalism.  The BetterBNC platform is now being used by 160 contests across North America for print, broadcast, public relations and creative contests.

For more information contact SmallTownPapers at 360.427.6300 or call Paul Jeffko at

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