A Michigan Newspaper Digitization Project is in Peril as Time Runs Out to Find a New Storage Facility

The Downriver Genealogical Society in south-eastern Wayne County, Michigan, has been working on a great project to preserve old newspapers that were about to be tossed out by The News-Herald, due to lack of storage space. Had the society not taken them, the newspapers since 1943 probably would have been thrown away.

The Downriver Genealogical Society also does not have storage space to keep the old newspapers for a long time but decided to take on a worthwhile volunteer project: digitize the old newspapers, make them available online, and then toss the originals away. The society took possession of the newspapers on Jan. 17, 2013. They’re currently being stored without charge at a building in Huron Township and digitization is underway.

There are problems with the plan, however. First, the owner of the storage facility has plans to lease the building in the very near future. The digitization project isn’t anywhere near completion. The newspapers and cabinets have to go. That is, they need to be moved or else thrown away.

Next, a leaking water issue recently damaged several of the papers entrusted to the Society.

In short, the newspapers need to either be moved or else the digitization needs to be speeded up in order to complete the project well ahead of the original schedule. Or both. If no storage place is found, the newspapers may have to be thrown out before digitization is completed and the project will come to an end without being completed.

Ideally, the Downriver Genealogical Society needs three large format scanners, which would enable them to make more progress in completing the project. But that also means volunteers would need three additional computers and software to process the data.

Donations are welcomed. To make a donation, offer free storage space or for additional information, contact Sherry Huntington, president of the Downriver Genealogical Society, at 313-382-3229.

You can read more in an article by Jim Kasuba in The News-Herald at: http://bit.ly/2wzijBR.

13 Comments

A very worthwhile project – I hope that they get the support that they desperately need.

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Tragic if a resolution can’t be found

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Why aren’t companies like GenealogyBank or others being contacted? One might assume they would have a vested interest in preserving more USA papers, if not by themselves then perhaps with the knowledge of how to get on with the job with donated or “on loan” scanners. Volunteers might also be found outside the genealogy realm, i.e. from a seniors group, high school students etc. – they might even become interested in genealogy!

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    Per our agreement with the News-Herald Newspapers, we cannot sell or profit from the newspaper project. Therefore we cannot give them to GenealogyBank or another company to digitize them as they would profit from it through the subscriptions to their databases. To date we have scanned over 78,000 pages, These are all OCR searchable. The Society is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. All donations are tax deductible. Checks should be made payable to DRGS, PO Box 476, Lincoln Park, MI 48146.

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A link to make a tax-deductible donation online or by mail to the Downriver Genealogical Society:
http://downrivergenealogy.org/current-projects/drgs-newspaper-digitizing-project/

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What about the LDS church? Do they have any local facilities that could store the newspapers? Can they make cameras (and people) available to digitize the papers?

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    Per our agreement with the News-Herald Newspapers, we cannot sell or profit from the newspaper project. Therefore we cannot give them to GenealogyBank or another company to digitize them as they would profit from it through the subscriptions to their databases. To date we have scanned over 78,000 pages, These are all OCR searchable. The Society is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. All donations are tax deductible. Checks should be made payable to DRGS, PO Box 476, Lincoln Park, MI 48146.

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    I contacted the Family History Library right away. They said they cannot assist us in any way. We’ve tried everything.

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Tom Tryniski of Fultonhistory.com might be able to help/give advice. Our town’s newspapers were on old microfilm and he scanned them in no time. I realize yours are paper copies, but ask Tom. He gets scanning done faster than the federal government, and all on his own. His site is free to all.
Good luck to you.
Alice

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What about crowd sourcing? Can you set up a Go Fund Me Page? Followed up by an email blast to notify the public?

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What about contacting one of the news channels and get it on TV. Maybe someone will step up with an unused building or room in a church or school that is not being used!

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Did you contact the university libraries? U of M, WSU etc.

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