Go digital: the library digitizes student newspaper collections

Nothing is eternal, and that includes paper. As decades-old student newspapers turn yellow and brittle, they become harder and harder to leaf through. In order to preserve a unique history at the University of Portland, library faculty members have embarked on the project to digitize all of the UP history student journals, The Columbiad and The Beacon.

A year and a half after receiving a grant from the Oregon Heritage Commission, all of these collections are now digitized and available in the library’s digital collections. These collections span over 100 years of student journalism, The Columbiad from 1902 to 1934 and, following the official name change from Columbia University to University of Portland, The Beacon, from 1935 to 2016.

Previous editions of The Beacon are now digitized and can be viewed on the Clark Library digital collection site.

Graphic by Emma Sells

This grant enabled the library to outsource the collection to Technical Imaging Systems, where the documents were actually digitized. After receiving the scanned files, a team of library teachers are then reviewed and added descriptive information, such as the date and the collection to which it belongs.

While much of this project was a waiting game while the papers were outsourced, Digital Services Librarian Philip Vue is happy to have this project completed now.

“It’s gratifying because now we have something that anyone can use, you know, not just a hard-to-navigate physical print collection, but now a collection that can be easily accessed and then also navigate,” a declared Vue.

The availability of these collections also brings benefits to the UP community. One obvious benefit is that there are now snapshots of UP history online for anyone with access to the library. With this, keywords can be searched and information can be found more easily.

The ability to search for keywords or phrases can also benefit students when researching a certain topic. Plus, there’s a way to provide examples of work done at UP for a resume or CV, Vue said.

Through the pages of past articles, historical moments at UP are kept alive. While working with the scanned files, Vue was able to experience some of these moments.

“I came across a lot of interesting things like former presidents or presidential candidates visiting UP,” Vue said.

Prominent people who have visited and published UP include John F. Kennedy, Robin Williams, and Jay Leno.

The interesting sites don’t stop at celebrity sightings, but continue in special editions published by The Beacon.

From 1978 to 2010, the newspaper ran an April Fool’s Day edition under the name “The Bacon.” The April Fool’s Day 1999 issue reads: “Why bother reporting the news when you can just make it up?” and articles from various other years report that the article is based in “Porkland”.

For another holiday edition, The Beacon was released as “The Boocon” in 1998 and 2003. Within these haunted pages are ghost stories, a tale of a ghoul in Waldschmidt, and horror movie reviews.

Once squeezed between the pages of archived newspapers, the stories of UP history, from the introduction of mixed admissions to the hiring of Terry Porter as head coach, are now laid out and ready to be. returned, or rather clicked, once more. . With all that digitization has to offer, it is hoped that it will be used to its full potential.

Laura Heffernan is a reporter for The Beacon. It can be reached at [email protected].

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