Digitising community newspapers with SLQ and Trove

State Library of Queensland recommends utilisation of the National Library of Australia (NLA) co-contributor model rather than independent scanning/digitisation of newspapers. NLA has prepared contributor guidelines to assist communities, councils and other associations who want to fund the digitisation of their local newspapers www.nla.gov.au/content/contributor-guidelines.

Preferred procedure

  • NLA’s preferred procedure is for NLA to undertake the scanning and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) processing on behalf of the contributing organisations
  • Have funds transferred to NLA to cover the costs of the work (approximately $2.31 per page)
  • The scanning is done from master microfilm rather than from original copies of the newspapers
  • State Library is able to release Queensland newspaper master microfilm to NLA for digitisation for Trove (assuming State Library has the masters!)
  • NLA normally only digitises up to 1954 due to copyright limitations
  • Should you wish to digitise more recent newspapers, you would need permission from the copyright holder
  • The digitised content is available at article level in NLA’s Trove.

Average costs with NLA co-contributor model

  • To give you a very rough idea of costs, we normally base our calculations on an average of about 1000 pages per roll at $2.31 per page (or $2310 per roll)
  • The quality of the microfilm can have a major impact on the quality of the digitised product
  • The earlier the microfilm was created, the less rigorous the standards that were applied. We would need to have a look at the film to ensure that the quality of the film meet today’s minimum standards for digitisation
  • Major issues we need to look for include filming done from bound volumes – as they may have distortion and totally illegible text in the gutters
  • Checking the quality of the film does take a fair bit of time for our microfilm unit, so notice and scheduling is required
  • Please let us know if you are likely to follow up on the digitisation proposal and we will be happy to check the film for you

Tips / good to know

  • Contact State Library of Queensland to discuss your project
  • If you can’t fund the entire newspaper in one financial year, start with a small run and use the results to garner support in your community
  • Engage volunteers to participate in Trove’s Text Correction to fix local information
  • Ask NLA for annual stats to build up support in your community for the NLA co-contributor model
  • An acknowledgment statement is shown on every page and article view in Trove. On a secondary, ‘More Information’ page, the logo of your organisation is displayed as well

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