Founded in 2005, the newspaper archive scanning service is part of SmallTownPapers, Inc., based in Shelton, Wash. The company scans directly from printed newspaper pages, usually from the publisher’s collection of bound volumes. According to president Paul Jeffko, many small-town publishers (particularly weeklies) operate on a tight budget, and very few have their archives recorded on microfilm.
“What drew me to it was that no one else was offering these services,” he said. “We’re working with heavy, old, frail bound volumes — difficult material — and I was up for the challenge.”
ArchiveInABox delivers an industrial shipping box to publishers, who pack up their bound volumes in the container. The company helps publishers decide what to scan and how to securely pack their shipment. Then, the container is shipped to the scan center, where the intact bound volumes are scanned using non-destructive methods. High-quality graysale or color scans are produced. The bound volumes are returned to the publisher along with digital copies of the scans on a portable hard drive.
Jeffko said the average turnaround is between six and eight weeks. “Since 2005, we’ve done about 6 million scans.”
The company also provides online hosting, where publishers and their readers can access the archives at no additional cost. The website is also searchable, because the company utilizes software that can read the text of individual scans. Access to the site is free, but Jeffko said there are plans to start a subscription service that would allow online searches to be conducted throughout the entire database instead of just one publication’s archive.
Publishers pay a flat fee nationwide, and there is no contract — they pay as they go. “It gives publishers control over their shipments and their budget,” Jeffko said.
Jeffko currently works with 300 clients, ranging from weekly newspapers to historical societies. “I think publishers feel like they are stewards to the history of time,” he said. “These archives are like a time capsule.”
For more information, visit archiveinabox.com.