The Brooklyn Public Library system announced recently a new initiative to digitize backlist newspaper archives in order to make them available to the public via their online portal. This initiative, which will make all copies of the original Brooklyn newspaper, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, available, was supported by both grant funding and the loaning of microfiche from the Library of Congress.
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle was a hometown paper in circulation from 1841 through 1955. As part of the BPL’s historic Brooklyn Collection and its digital newspaper portal Brooklyn Newsstand, this collection is made possible with help from Newspapers.com and several other sources.
According to an article for Library Journal by Gary Price, “The Brooklyn Newsstand will now provide the public with free access to the entire collection of The Brooklyn Daily Eagle newspaper ranging from the date of its publication in 1841 to its close in 1955. Previously, thanks to a 2001 National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences (IMLS), BPL was able to digitize a microfilmed copy the Eagle from 1841 to 1902 and make those years searchable in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle Online database. As with the IMLS project, the second phase of digitization completed by Newspapers.com uses negative microfilm provided by the Library of Congress.”
Without digitization efforts, these newspapers–and thousands of others like it around the country–would sit in obscurity in a microfiche cabinet, possibly in an unused space of the library building. Now, these documents can have a renewed focus and offer new insights to a generation of readers that might not even be aware that the paper existed. More important, they can now be accessed by users around the world who otherwise would have been barred from physical access to the documents.