Newspapers often represent the most extensive documentation of a community’s activities. The small weekly rural publication or the long-running daily newspaper in larger urban centres bring forward a community’s history in a way that no other record can. The increased expectation for finding information online combined with the slow phasing out of older microfilm reader technology means digitized newspaper collections are some of the most widely used and accessed collections across the globe. ODW’s cutting edge aggregation services also mean that more people will discover your collections than with a standalone site.

Digitize newspapers from paper or microfilm?

Our team knows how tricky it can be to navigate digitization projects, especially when they are large-scale and require both connections and specialized expertise. To help shepherd these projects, ODW offers an end-to-end project management service, the All-in-One Digitization Service for community newspaper digitization projects. As part of the All-in-One service, we ensure that copyright permissions are granted for the publications, we help identify the location of the best copies for digitization, we navigate all vendor negotiations, and then manage the thousands of files that result from digitizing long runs of newspaper publications. Our clients receive all digital image and OCR files for local preservation. Organizations can also use the VITA Digital Collections Toolkit for online display and discovery.

ODW is known as a trusted service provider for these projects because we bring specialized expertise, solid vendor relationships, adherence to digitization best practices, and a sophisticated solution for sharing the digital collection for in-house or online discovery and search.

Some sample projects include:

Indexes, Clippings, Vertical Files

Diligent indexing from years of work often won’t be found outside a bricks and mortar environment. Whether you are digitizing newspaper pages or just your index collection, we can migrate legacy indexes from paper, electronic documents, and other databases or systems. Our work has included moving Birth, Death & Marriage and article indexes from MSWord and Excel, digitized index cards, and other systems like Access, inMagic, ContentDM, DBTextworks, and more. We’ll work closely with you to make sure all your data is captured for search and display in a user friendly site.

Some sample migrations include:

Multilingual Optical Character Recognition (OCR)

ODW has pioneered several areas of Optical Character Recognition (OCR) development and deployment for newspaper digitization. Building on open source technologies, ODW has mapped out an infrastructure to achieve high volume throughput and built expertise in adding new language support to OCR. In 2013, ODW successfully processed a collection of newspapers publications in 14 languages including Inuktitut, a syllabic script of one of Canada’s First Peoples.

In 2021/2022, as part of our digitization post production services, we have been achieving excellent results processing handwritten materials with Google’s Optical Character Recognition software for some very rewarding results.

Contact us for more information.

Getting started

Let us manage and process your newspaper digitization project. Pricing is on a per project basis and to get started we need to know more about your project ideas and scope. Download this checklist before completing the questionnaire online here. Or talk to us about your project ideas.

The small print

ODW is dedicated to helping share your collections online. We ensure that all original files are returned to you along with the value added files created during the process. We maintain no ownership of your digital content nor is there a required contract for your display services beyond the Terms of Service associated with the VITA Digital Collections Toolkit.