Newspaper Microfilm Being Digitized. County Library’s Collection from the 1820s to 2000 will be Available via Internet.

County library’s collection from 1820 to 2000 will be available
via the internet

Princess Anne – If you’re looking to access back copies of the Crisfield Times, Somerset Herald, Marylander and Herald, or the Village Herald through the microfilm reader at the Princess Anne Library, there’s good news and bad.

The bad news is, the collection dating from the 1820s to 2000 will be unavailable for about 12 weeks. The good news is, the microfilm is being digitized so it will be accessible not only in the library but for anyone with a home computer and an Internet connection.

“The Somerset County Library System received a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, through the Maryland State Department of Education, Division of Library and Development Services (DLDS) to digitize our newspaper collection on microfilm,” said Library Director Jennifer Ranck. When that is completed, “We will then be able to put the collection online, making it easier to access the records, especially for those who cannot physically visit the Princess Anne branch where the collection is currently located.”

Ms. Ranck said “the records will also be simpler and faster to search because the issues will be indexed by month and year. Rather than having to scroll through a reel of microfilm until you find the issue you need, users will be able to click a link.”

Digitizing the newspaper microfilm has been a goal of local library directors for many years, and this job will be undertaken by Crowley Micrographics in Frederick. At this time, however, it is not certain if the pages will be searchable by keyword. Newspaper fonts vary, and optical character recognition (OCR) systems are sensitive to these differences.

Ms. Ranck said a sample paper from 1974 was not searchable, but Crowley will investigate to see what can be done once all of the microfilm is processed.

“We are excited about making it easier for people to learn more about the history of Somerset County and the surrounding areas,” Ms. Ranck said. “Newspapers offer a unique insight into what life was like, not only for the news stories, of course, but also for the advertisements, letters to the editor and, society pages.”

Original Article By

Richard Crumbacker
Crisfield-Somerset County Times

Used by permission