» By JENELLE GREWELL – firstname.lastname@example.org
The history of APSU is just a few mouse clicks away thanks to the Woodward Library digitizing all the archive issues of The All State.
Joe Weber, director of Library Services said the library is digitizing all of the issues of The All State back to the first issue in 1930. He said once they catch up on all the back issues of The All State, they will digitize each new issue as it comes out.
Weber said the issues are being digitized by using a digital camera to take a picture of each page. He said they are using optical character recognition software to allow users to search for keywords or phrases. “So if you want to know what’s going on in basketball in the 1932 season, you go to the 1932 section and you can type in basketball and it will look for that word in all of the papers,” Weber said.
Weber said the library decided to start digitizing issues of The All State because a lot of institutions are trying to make their historical documents more accessible by putting them online.
Gina Garber, Digital Services Librarian, originally came up with the idea to digitize issues of The All State when she saw students come in on a regular basis to do research with a lot based on the history of APSU.
She said when students would come in and look at the actual newspapers, some of them were very brittle. Every time somebody looked at the old issues, they would put oil from their fingers on them and would wear down the item.
“So, I was more interested in preserving them, and the way to do that is to have less access,” Garber said. “The less people to handle [the newspapers], the less they are going to deteriorate. The best way to do that, I thought, was a digitization project.”
“It not only goes into the preserving of the original material, but it also makes it more accessible to people because they don’t have to come [to the archive room] or if they do come here, they have a much better resource,” said Scott Shumate, Digital Services Assistant.
When going through the digitized issues, Shumate experienced a personal historical discovery.
He said his father went to APSU in the 1960s and was involved in several organizations.
He said it was funny because it wasn’t until the first pages went live when he thought to search for his father. “As soon as I put Shumate in there, I found his first wife, who was actually a teacher here a bunch of times, but I found pictures of him that were in The All State.”
Weber said the digitized issues of The All State could be helpful to students in their history classes, any class looking at how culture has changed and how the university has changed.
He also thinks it is beneficial to anyone in the journalism or literature fields to look back at old papers.
Shumate said he helped a student find articles about the APSU band. “It turned what could have been a day’s worth of work into 30 minutes.”
Garber said a lot of people active in an organization or athletics might want to see their name or picture in old issues of The All State after graduating.
“This is easy because instead of having us to go through newspapers and try to photocopy something for them, they can just go online and search their name and that information comes up for them,” Garber said.
She said people forget how important it is when they were in school to have their name in the paper when they achieve something and, when they get older, they want to collect those things for their children.
Shumate and Garber both said the digitized issues are good for looking up university history.
Shumate explained how he found articles from the 1930s, 1950s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s all about the parking issues.
“The more things change, the more they stay the same. Parking has apparently been an issue here since the 1930s at least,” he said.
Shumate said the next digitization project will be to digitize the old yearbooks. Weber said all the issues up to 1988 are currently available on the library website. Access to the digitized issues can be found by clicking on the digital collections link on the library website. TAS