We have scanned the first copies into our budding archive!
Any of you following this story will likely remember the news about the thousands of local newspapers we found thanks to a local historian. After visiting the collection we found entire years of bound newspapers from as early as 1905 and spanning all the way to 1997. The meat of our find is located in the 1950-1968 time period which details local events such as the closing of the old Talihina School (located where the Old Gym parking lot is) and international events such as the assassination of President Kennedy.
We also have several publication years showing the Talihina view of World War 1, World War 2, Korean War, and Vietnam War. Many articles about local veterans can be found during these years and will be showcased once scanned to help celebrate our long patriotic history.
With so many newspapers spanning such a large time frame, we had to ask “Where do we begin?”
Before we could even prioritize the newspapers we had to solve the problem of access and transportation of the more fragile members of the collection, some being over 115 years old. The answer came to us not out of opportunity or careful planning, but out of technological advancement.
Even as recent as five years ago we would have had to carefully transport every single book, paper, box and listing by hand to a safe location with the proper scanners set up in a proper environment. Thanks to technological advancements like modern cameras found in high end cell-phones and tablets we have portable PDF scanners in our pockets at all times.
The current cameras we are using are 12MP and above which is actually higher quality than some portable scanners well into the 500 dollar range. Five years ago this type of project would be much more complex and financially intense at the cost of 300-1000 dollars per PDF scanner. Today we are using 3 modern handheld devices attached to tripods and calibrated to best capture each paper and automatically convert to a PDF.
Our criteria for choosing where to start fell into three simple questions:
Question One. What is the condition of the paper? Some of our papers are in immaculate condition preserved by being untouched for decades. Interestingly enough, one of our best quality collections is the 1905 binder which is preserved even better than some of our 80s papers. Some, however like a few of our 1950s binders have been damaged by mice, mishandling and the cruel hands of time.
Question Two. What is the age of the paper? This one is pretty simple but incredibly important because we found it best to start with the most recent papers to cut our teeth. All of us have experience with older materials and being careful during delicate assignments but none of us have done this particular task. There are mistakes to be made and a process that has to have mistakes to improve. For this purpose we chose to start with newer papers in case we have hard lessons to learn or need to rescan multiple times. To put it simply, the newest papers have the integrity to handle a learning curve.
Question Three. Does the Oklahoma Historical Society have this paper? Yes, that’s right the OHS actually has many Talihina newspapers dating almost as far back as our collection. While that’s very interesting, we found that we have issues and copies that even OHS doesn’t possess in scanned form. We were ecstatic to find that we had papers that likely don’t exist anywhere else in the world. Even if it’s just about a little town in the middle of nowhere, it’s our little town. Our history is important to preserve and we have an opportunity to be the ones to do it!
We officially have the first scans in right now!
The last step is to decide on a regular publishing period and hosting place. The current plan is to create a page where we post each scan linked in full-year PDF booklets to ease the archiving process. As we continue forward, we are looking to have the first scans posted in late December or early January.