VTDNP recent news and spring activities

VTDNP members Chris Kirby and Tom McMurdo joined the Boston Public Library’s Chrissy Rissmeyer at the Massachusetts Library Conference in Late April for a presentation: “Spread the News: the National Digital Newspaper Program.” Chrissy outlined a potential Massachusetts digital newspaper project component of the NDNP. Chris described Vermont’s process of applying for the NDNP grant, organizing the structure of the VTDNP, and pulling together resources for a successful project. I (Tom) outlined the processes involved in going from film in a drawer to an online digital image. The presentation was well received and generated enthusiasm for the VTDNP, the potential Boston Public Library-based Massachusetts state project, and helped stimulate further discussions about NDNP participation in other New England states.

Chrissy and her colleagues at the Boston Public Library were welcoming, fun hosts. The organizers of the Massachusetts Library Conference put on an interesting event that I would recommend attending!

In other news, newspaper digitization keeps rolling along here. We are poised to send our first batch to the Library of Congress. The batch, which will be submitted this week, contains nearly 10,000 pages. It is composed of issues of the Rutland Herald from 1836-1854, the Vermont Farmer from St. Johnsbury, dating from 1872-1877, and the first part of the Burlington Weekly Free Press, with issues from 1836-1864. We look forward to seeing our state’s newspapers available on the Chronicling America website (available here: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/), hopefully before the end of summer. It is our understanding that the Rutland Herald and Burlington Free Press will be the first NDNP titles from the 1830s, as no other NDNP participants have submitted material that extends to the earliest years of the grant period.

The VTDNP is continuing work on the Burlington Free Press weekly edition. We plan to scan issues from 1836 to 1920 of that title. This long run should provide researchers with a long running history of not only Burlington, but statewide news, and a Vermont-based perspective on world events.

The weekly Free Press, weekly Rutland Herald, and Vermont Farmer are just the first three titles our advisory board selected for the grant. We will be working on digitizing titles throughout Vermont from the 1836-1922 grant period. Here’s the complete list:

Vermont Farmer – St. Johnsbury, Vermont, 1872-1877

Rutland Herald weekly titles – 1836-1854

Burlington Free Press weekly edition – 1836-1920

Rutland Daily Globe – 1873-1877

Windham County Democrat – Brattleboro, VT, 1837-1853

Vermont Transcript – St. Albans, VT, 1864-1870

Vermont Phoenix – Brattleboro, VT, 1836-1922

State Journal/Watchman title family – Montpelier, VT, 1836-1910

Middlebury Register title family, 1836-1922

Spirit of the Age, Woodstock, VT, 1840-1913

and portions of the following two titles, dates to be determined:

Caledonian, St. Johnsbury, VT, begin 1837, and Bennington Banner titles, begin 1858.

We will be working on these titles into summer of 2012, and we will announce each title as it becomes available on the Chronicling America site. We will continue to provide background and context for these titles to inform your understanding of our work.

– Tom McMurdo

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