Thursday, September 15, 2016

Journal Sentinel Archive to Return?

Library Journal reports some good news, that the Journal Sentinel archives, pulled from Google last month, may be returning soon:
A popular digital Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper archive will "soon" be available again to Milwaukee Public Library (MPL) patrons after it abruptly vanished without explanation on August 16, the paper's president told Library Journal on Wednesday.

The online archive, which spanned millions of digital pages covering roughly 120 years of local history in city newspapers, had been available at MPL since 2009 through the Google News Archive. The database was removed without warning, leaving researchers, genealogists, and other library patrons in the lurch.

But Chris Stegman, who took over as Milwaukee Journal Sentinel president in June, said the digital archive's disappearance was nothing more than an unfortunate mix-up caused by a switch to a new computer system at the newspaper, which was purchased by the Gannett Corporation in April.

"That's hopefully going to be resolved soon," he said of the archive's removal, adding that he could not pinpoint a more precise date for its return. Google will no longer host the online material, Stegman added.

"The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has a partnership with NewsBank to develop and maintain a digitized, permanent collection of our valuable archival information," Stegman wrote in a September 14 e-mail to LJ. "This is a massive development project involving digitizing millions of pages of microfilm. Once completed, NewsBank will provide the archive service to our newspaper and community, including the Milwaukee Public Library."

He continued: "NewsBank and the Milwaukee Public Library are in discussion to establish the business terms for this service. The library currently has a no-fee trial of the sample collection; library patron access to the archive is subject to further negotiation and agreement between NewsBank and the library."
So there's hope yet. I wouldn't paying a reasonable amount for access to the archives, so long as they're made available. Milwaukee's history has been uniquely accessible, as both major papers have had extensive archives posted to Google. That history is currently lost to us, but hopefully will return soon.

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