Digitizing newspapers will allow access to our archives

The Lisbon Lepper Library’s announcement that it would soon begin digitizing copies of this newspaper was music to our ears.

The library will digitize copies of the Morning Journal and its predecessor, the Buckeye State, as well as the Ohio Patriot, which dates back into the early 1800s. The library had made microfilm copies of these newspapers and was current with the Morning Journal until 2003, when it discontinued the practice because of funding problems. The library has contracted with Advantage Preservation to convert all existing microfilm records to a digital format, as well as make microfilm and digital copies of the Morning Journal through 2012.

When completed, the digital copies would be accessible through the library’s website, while the microfilm records will be kept in storage by Advantage.

“This will create an online searchable database that will be totally searchable by key words,” Library Director Nancy Simpson said. “Microfilm, while a good preservation technique, is a thing of the past in terms of searchability.”

Simpson said this is a significant step forward in the preservation of local history since newspapers play such a critical role in that regard.

It’s obvious why we’re thrilled here at the newspaper. Even though we have bound copies of many of our past editions, some volumes were lost in a fire that destroyed our building in the 1970s. And, paging through the dusty, old, brittle paper volumes is a slow, tedious and awkward way to do research.

In the digital format full public access to our newspaper will again be available.

We formerly allowed the public to view our bound volumes, but some were destroyed by unscrupulous users who thought nothing of damaging privately owned historic documents by clipping them for their own use.

Now, journalists, genealogists, local historians, researchers and the general public will have access to our historic archives again without jeopardizing the safety of these documents.