By: Staff Reports

Project Kicks Off With NY Times

Bell & Howell’s Information and Learning Unit, based in Ann
Arbor, Mich., and The New York Times have agreed to
digitize the newspaper back to its very first issue in 1851.
Every single page of the newspaper – including
advertisements, photos, and graphics – will be included.

Bell & Howell will use its ProQuest online information service to
digitize more than 3.5 million pages of the Times. The
resulting database will be provided by Bell & Howell to
educational institutions and libraries around the world.

The electronic files will be released in segments covering 10
years each with the first release expected in March. Bell &
Howell estimates the project will be completed in 15 months. The
database will feature ASCII text and index searching. Users will
also be able to view the complete image of any page of any issue.

This partnership is part of Bell & Howell’s announcement last
week that it has launched the ProQuest Historical Newspapers
Project. The project initiates the digitization of newspapers
dating from the 19th century to the present. Included in the
digital archives will be news stories, editorials, photos,
graphics, and advertisements. Bell & Howell expects to eventually
digitize hundreds of newspapers, including some defunct

“For the first time, researchers will be able to access news
stories from previous centuries with simple search terms,” said
Joe Reynolds, CEO and president of Bell & Howell Information and
Learning. “In addition, they’ll be able to look at the entire
issue, which means they’ll find history in its context –
complete with long-forgotten news items pertinent to the day,
advertisements of popular products and services of the time, and
with editorial comments reflecting the era’s sentiments.”

ProQuest Historical Newspapers will be accessible at institutions
and libraries through the ProQuest online information system.

The Times is also expected to use some elements of the
digital archive on its Web sites.

Copyright 2001, Editor & Publisher.

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