Nearly 175 years of Greencastle newspapers, including The BannerGraphic, will be digitized and made available for the world to see, read and research thanks to a grant announced this week.
The DePauw University libraries and the Putnam County Public Library are the recipients of a $20,000 grant to undertake the project through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA).
The funds will allow the libraries to create a searchable, digital database of back issues, not only of The BannerGraphic, but other Greencastle newspapers dating from 1837 forward. The digital newspapers will be accessible from computers and other devices worldwide.
The project is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Indiana State Library.
The DePauw and Putnam County libraries will provide 316 reels (approximately 201,000 frames) of 35mm camera negative microfilm of several Greencastle newspapers to a vendor, which will scan them as TIFF files. The digital files will be grouped by title and issue and added to the DePauw Digital Library, where they will be available as searchable PDF files.
The Putnam County Public Library will provide partial funding for the project, as well as newspaper microfilm as needed and staff to assist with the creation of the digital records.
The work will also become part of the Indiana Memory project -- a collaborative effort to provide access to the wealth of primary sources in Indiana libraries, archives, museums and other cultural institutions.
"The finished product will become a valuable resource to the residents of Greencastle, Putnam County and beyond, and a wonderful tool for those interested in history," Rick Provine, director of libraries at DePauw, said.
Banner Graphic officials are equally excited about the venture.
"It will be wonderful to have access to all these newspapers, and the vital information they contain, literally available at our fingertips," Editor Eric Bernsee said. "Readers are always asking about the availability of stories like the John Dillinger robbery or the IBM plant closing or even South Putnam's high school football championship. Now, once the files have been digitized, many of those stories can be shared again and read by a new audience.
"And the beauty of it all," he added, "is that with the latest technology we will be able too do so from our own computer in our own office or living room without having to make a special visit to the library to scroll through microfilm."
The BannerGraphic is a consolidation of The Daily Banner, established in 1850, and The Herald and The Daily Graphic, established in 1883.
Among other newspapers previously printed in Greencastle were The Republican Banner, The Putnam County Sentinel, The Greencastle Star-Democrat and The Star Press.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Its mission is to grow and sustain a nation of learners. Through its grant making, research and publications, the Institute empowers museums and libraries nationwide to provide leadership and services to enhance learning in families and communities, sustain cultural heritage, build 21st-century skills and increase civic participation.