Brooklyn Public Library
The Central Library of the Brooklyn Public Library is the first stop of my residency. Ivy Marvel, manager of special collections in the local history division, introduces me to Brooklyn Newsstand, a newspaper digitization initiative.
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, a daily newspaper which was published between 1841 and 1955, is an important resource for the history of Brooklyn and, as such, is heavily used. Because of the suboptimal user-friendliness in the microfilm copy on account of missing indexing, the issues from 1841-1902 were digitized ten years ago with the support of a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences and made available to the public free of charge via the Brooklyn Daily Eagle Online database. For ten years, only the first half of the collection was available online, so there was understandably a lot of demand for the missing issues. But because the second half of the collection was considerably larger – early issues of the Eagle were about 4 pages, but rose to 20 pages in later years – costs for digitization were significantly higher. One calculated with a sum in the vicinity of $1 million, which would have been difficult to raise through private donations alone. So the project was put on the backburner until a staff member in the Library’s development department took up contact with ancestry.com. The operator of the genealogy platform offered to pay for the digitization of the missing issues of the Eagle under the condition that they could make the data available via their ancestry offshoot newspapers.com. Access to ancestry.com is usually fee-based, but the Brooklyn Public Library was able to negotiate free access to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Since the cooperation with ancestry.com presented the only opportunity for digitization, the Brooklyn Public Library accepted that ancestry.com would maintain the master files. So if library users request high-resolution images, these are scanned on-site.
Since 2014, the entire run of the Eagle has been available online at http://bklyn.newspapers.com, a resource that has grown to include Brooklyn Life, a society magazine that appeared between 1890 and 1931, as well as the weekly Brooklyn Life and Activities of Long Island Society.
All scanned pages are full-text and searchable via keyword. Search results are returned via a list of thumbnails with highlighted keywords and can further be filtered by date, place, single or multiple newspapers. One may alternatively also browse individual newspapers or issues.
After a free registration, a number of helpful options are presented for handling search results. Relevant articles can be cut via a “clippings” function, annotated, saved, printed, downloaded, sent via email or shared via social media. Prior searches can be saved in a personal profile, enabling the ability to pick up a search at a later time. If one clicks the notify button, one is informed when newly digitized pages including keywords from a search have been uploaded. Clippings can be made visible to other users if one hasn’t purposely deactivated this function. If one comes across interesting search results, one can also follow users. It is also possible to follow a particular newspaper title. In either case, one is informed of new activity.
Clipped from The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 7 Apr 1915, Wed, Page 5, http://bklyn.newspapers.com/clip/3258915/ullmann/
Registered users of ancestry.com can also link individual pages or articles to the profile of a person, for example in a family tree, or upload photos, thereby enriching the portal.