New additions have been added to Hamilton Library’s open-access archive of 19th and 20th century Hawai‘i newspapers that will allow students, faculty and community members to get a glimpse into the lives of Hawai‘i residents.
“Hamilton Library has been a part of the National Digital Newspaper Program since 2008, and we have been digitizing newspapers since then,” Hawai‘i Digital Newspaper Project manager Jennifer Beamer said.
The new additions to the archive will allow users to examine details of the everyday lives of past Hawai‘i residents. Those who have deep family roots can also search for news about family members.
Beamer said the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa library received $265,018 for a third phase of the project in 2012. The 2012-14 project will digitize predecessor titles of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
“We have always been in possession of these newspapers; however, they were only available on microfilm up until now, meaning you could not search for specific words, images and content,” Beamer said.
The new additions will include The Pacific Commercial Advertiser which was first published in 1856. PCA began as a bilingual weekly newspaper that co-printed with Ka Hoku Loa O Hawai‘i (The Morning Star of Hawai‘i) for five years. PCA then became a daily newspaper in 1882 and merged with the Honolulu Advertiser in 1921.
The PCA archive also includes “Local Brevities,” which reported the comings and goings, life events, deaths and other aspects of the lives of people living in Hawai‘i.
The partnership between the UH library system and the Hawai‘i Digital Newspaper Project welcomes the addition of PCA to its already existing 200,000 English-language newspaper pages that have already been digitized.
The National Digital Newspaper Program is a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. The goal of the organization is to provide permanent and effective access to a national digital resource of newspaper bibliographic information and historic newspapers.
The process behind archiving newspapers involves three phases: pre-digitization, digitization and post-digitization/quality assurance. Throughout the three phases, the newspapers are selected through a thorough process. Accuracy, precision and backing up content are key steps in digitizing potential newspapers.
“Students can access the above list of newspapers simply by visiting chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/. It’s freely accessible – they do not need to sign in to any library portal,” Beamer said.
Beamer is not sure if additions of Hawaiian-language newspapers will be added in the future to the UH Mānoa library system.
“The Library of Congress focuses on English newspapers,” Beamer said. “Our own Bishop Museum has a searchable collection of historic Hawaiian-language newspapers published between 1834 and 1948.”