Since 2009, Libraries Nova Scotia has sponsored a series of newspaper digitization projects designed to explore the challenges of preserving and providing online access to a selection of the province’s historical and culturally diverse newspapers. This is the first time that these publications have been widely available to an Internet audience, and interest in them has been impressive.
Specific project objectives have been to:
- maximize opportunity for community-based participation and skills training through divested, decentralized project design and management
- promote cooperation/collaboration between government and public-sector organizations
- help promote the visibility and relevance of Libraries NS
- help promote the significance and value of Nova Scotia’s historical newspapers
- promote recognition of at-risk newspaper heritage
- promote opportunities offered by digital technology
- develop and promote use of appropriate technical standards and best practices
- ensure minimal overhead administrative costs
Project partners have been the Nova Scotia Archives (Halifax), the Beaton Institute, Cape Breton University (Sydney), and the Angus L. Macdonald Library, St. Francis Xavier University (Antigonish), each of which maintains specialized in-house digitization services for archival material.
Funding assistance for these projects has come from @NS, the Board of Trustees, Public Archives of Nova Scotia, the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society, and the Canada-Nova Scotia Agreement on French-language Services (Acadian Affairs). Assistance with translation has been provided by Communications Nova Scotia and Gaelic Affairs.
An estimated 104,700 pages of digitized newspapers – 21 titles over the period 1769 to 2003 – are included. All have been scanned from original copies. In general, project partners have chosen from their own holdings, favouring older or significant newspapers with a brief publication history; in several instances, however, small runs have been borrowed from elsewhere for digitization. Decisions have also been based on page size (small enough to fit current equipment) and physical condition.
The titles presented here are rare, they are frequently the only surviving records for that particular newspaper, and they all provide a unique perspective on life in Nova Scotia. The project partners are especially pleased to offer 18th century Shelburne newspapers, the Micmac News, the Acadian Recorder, The 4th Estate, The Atlantic Advocate, Am Bràigheand Le Courrier de la Nouvelle-Écosse. Making these titles available online ensures that Nova Scotians everywhere have access to a significant record of their past.