Salem News pages from past now readily available
Project involved converting microfilm collection of past editions for online access
Whether it’s Kennedy’s 1960 visit to Salem, great-grandpa’s obituary in 1939 or the Salem sesquicentennial celebration in 1956, all the news that was fit to print can be found. And not just the news — all the ads, comics, every page of every issue from 1905 to 1975 can be accessed.
“We’ve worked to scan our microfilm collection of the Salem News to make it available online,” Salem Public Library Director Brad Stephens said.
The project started more than two years ago and actually launched live in December, with library personnel introducing patrons to the new resource in a soft opening.
“People love it,” he said.
The Salem News Digital Collection can be found at http://www.salem.lib.oh.us/SalemNewsFilm/ or just go to the library website at www.salem.lib.oh.us and go under local interest.
Pick the month, year and date to research and start reading. The system allows the user to move from issue to issue and browse.
Stephens explained that users can also click the download link and save a high resolution PDF to their computer or device, which is what he suggests for printing since it will be a higher quality.
“The core of what we are about is providing access to information, free open access to information,” Stephens said. “This is a resource that’s not available anyplace else,”
He’s thrilled about being able to provide such a great resource to the community and an enhancement that “allows us to showcase Salem’s rich heritage.”
The library will continue to add more years and once they’re done, they’ll start working on adding newspapers that came before the Salem News, such as the Anti-Slavery Bugle or the Salem Republican, some which date back to the mid-1800s.
As for more recent issues, the library started making electronic copies of the Salem News available starting with 2009 and close to present day with in-library only access, using either the library’s computers or a personal computer inside the library.
Other local interest resources available on the library website include copies of Yesteryears, which is a former historical publication of the Salem News, the Salem High School yearbook, the Salem High School Quaker newspaper, the index of obituaries appearing in the Salem News, and Grandview Cemetery.
Stephens said people from all over the country use the obituary index, which they plan to link to the Salem News Digital Collection at some point. He pictured the same for the Salem News issues, as people use the newspaper for genealogy, for historical research, for teaching, for learning or just to see the news of the day for the day they were born.
“We’re extremely thankful to the Salem News for allowing us to publish this information and help to unlock our community’s history,” he said.
The library partnered with the Youngstown State University Maag Library which had cleaner microfilm copies, working with Robert Ault, head of microfilm and archives. Dr. Peter Apicella of Salem helped with some of the web interface and technical details.
Funding from the George Bowman estate provided to the library for local history helped cover some of the cost.
Six staff members have been involved in the project coordinated by Jane Massa. The Crowley Company of Virginia did the initial scanning of the microfilm to digitize them, then the library personnel used software to put the digitized versions into a format that could be used online.