OHIO VALLEY — Bossard Memorial Library in Gallipolis has stepped even further into the digital age by offering a convenient look at the past for those who have access to the internet.
The library now has every newspaper printed in Gallipolis, including the Daily Times, Sunday Times-Sentinel, The Gallipolis Daily Tribune, and others, since 1895 on microfilm, which has always been available to the public. However, patrons had to come into the library and know a date to be able to search the microfilm.
“While that works well, we obviously have that capability in house and people have been doing that for years, we wanted to have that microfilm digitized and put online in a searchable format,” said Library Director Debbie Saunders.
And that is exactly what they have done. Every newspaper is now online and has been converted from microfilm into a fully digital and searchable index that is available for free and can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection.
“While it was great that patrons could come in and search the microfilm in house, it wasn’t searchable in a real efficient way,” said Saunders. “We now have an online searchable index of every paper since 1895.
We’re very appreciative of the (Ohio Valley Publishing) publisher (Bud Hunt) for giving the library permission,” said Saunders. “Without the permissions of the publisher this would not be possible.”
The library funded the program from their technology fund, costing around $38,000 according to Saunders. Bossard sent the microfilm to a company called Advantage Preservation that scanned and digitized the microfilm and stored it online. They also sent a hard drive with all of the content to Bossard to store for posterity if anything were to ever happen to the servers.
“We just believed in the value of it and what it will do for people in terms of their research capability, even if you’re not doing real indepth research you can learn a lot about local history or family members,” said Saunders.
The site is simple to use with a basic user interface and two ways to search; a simple search and a more detailed method searching specific words and dates. Specific search criteria can include dates, particular publications, by decades, containing specific phrases, words, or any combination of words.
While researching through the 123 years of newspapers, visitors to the site can save and edit screen-shots of what they find in both .pdf and .jpg formats. Users can zoom in and crop certain portions of a page and add filters to their screen-shots.
The site can be accessed from Bossard’s website www.bossardlibrary.org or bossardlibrary.advantage-preservation.com.
The earliest edition of a local, Gallia County newspaper the library has available on the site is from Tuesday, January 1, 1895. Headlines in the paper that day include three men who confessed to murder in Pittsburgh, Pa. and business accountings showing an increase in the economy. Many of the datelines on the front page are from Pittsburgh, although several are from San Francisco, Calif. involving Russian refugees.
Bossard will also continue to load up current editions of the Tribune and Times-Sentinel as they are published, preserving a digital record.
According to the special 200th anniversary edition of the Tribune from October 15, 1990 there have been 18 different newspapers in Gallia County; two of which are still in print. The Gallipolis Daily Tribune first printed 1893 and the Current Sunday Times-Sentinel began as the Gallia Times in 1898.
To celebrate and draw attention to the new online database Bossard has planned an online scavenger hunt from January 21 through 27. Participants must go to bossardlibrary.org to obtain questions (after the 21) and then use the database to find those answers and email them to the reference desk at email@example.com. There will be a prize drawing for everyone that answers all of the questions.
(Editor’s note: Due to the formation of Ohio Valley Publishing, many articles which ran in the Tribune but originated from its sister papers, The Daily Sentinel and Point Pleasant Register, can also be found in the database.)
Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342.