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First Grants Awarded in National Digital Newspaper Program

NEH, LOC launch first step in digitizing 20 million pages of early American newspapers

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 28, 2005)--The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Library of Congress today announced that six institutions have received more than $1.9 million in grants in the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), a new, long-term effort to develop an Internet-based, searchable database of U.S. newspapers now in public domain. Two-year projects in California, Florida, Kentucky, New York, Utah, and Virginia each will digitize 100,000 or more pages of each state's most historically significant newspapers published between 1900 and 1910. When completed, digitized newspapers will be made available through the Library of Congress's Web site (www.loc.gov).

"Newspapers are among the most important historical documents we have as Americans. They tell us who we were, who we are, and where we're going," said NEH Chairman Bruce Cole. "Students, historians, lawyers, politicians--even newspaper reporters--will be able to go to their computer at home or at work and through a few keystrokes, get immediate, unfiltered access to the greatest source of our history. It will be available to the American public for free, forever."

"The Library congratulates these institutions for taking a leading role in making newspapers--among our richest records of history--available electronically through our Web site," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "We hope the National Digital Newspaper Program inspires other institutions to make their public domain newspapers accessible online."

As an outgrowth of the soon-to-be-completed U.S. Newspaper Program, a coordinated effort by individual states to inventory and microfilm local newspapers, the NDNP supports projects in all states and territories that will select and digitize significant newspapers published between 1836 and 1922.

The following six institutions received the first NDNP grants to digitize papers in their respective states from the first decade of the 20th century:

  • University of California, Riverside, $400,000;
  • University of Florida Libraries, Gainesville, $320,959;
  • University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington, $310,000;
  • New York Public Library, New York City, $351,500;
  • University of Utah, Salt Lake City, $352,693; and
  • Library of Virginia, Richmond, $201,226.

The six NDNP awards were made as part of the Humanities Endowment's We the People initiative, announced by President Bush in a Rose Garden Ceremony in September 2002, to recognize model projects that advance the study, teaching, and understanding of American history and culture.

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About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov.

Media Contacts: Office of Communications at (202) 606-8446 or info@neh.gov