You Think Digitizing Old Newspapers is Easy? Then Read This!

PictureSource: State Library Victoria

 I recently came across an article from the State Library of Victoria, Australia.

It is all about the process that they go through to digitise old newspapers, in this case The Bendigo Independent, for the years 1902-1918.

I won’t copy or repeat the text of the article itself, but if you are an avid user of online historical newspaper databases, then you must read this article: Digitising Newspapers.

It was published August 19, 2015 and written by Paul (no last name provided).

Why must you read this article??? Because we online historic newspaper researchers can be spoiled brats sometimes. I have seen people whine about their favorite old newspaper not being available online, or gripe about the quality of the resulting index after the scan and OCR process is applied, just to name a couple of frequent complaints.

​This stuff is not easy!

Digitizing or Digitising newspapers is a laborious process, especially to prepare the source material for the best possible outcome. And generally the people who perform these tasks do so with a lot of love and care.

Here are some of the photos from the article that show what they have to deal with.​


Bound volumes


Frayed and brittle edges




Torn pages

And this is just the prep work!

Let us be thankful for the workers and often unpaid volunteers who do this hard work so we can sit at home comfortably searching an index of old newspapers in order to more easily discover an article or two about our ancestors.

​Thank you Paul and the State Library of Victoria for this very enlightening article!


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1 Comment

  1. I know well the foibles of scanning. e becomes o, Ts become 7s, and creases are dark smudges covering everything in their path.

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