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Background of the Project

The State Newspaper Collection under the State and University Library is Denmark’s primary archive for Danish newspapers. The Royal Library in Copenhagen has a similar collection of newspapers; and even though the two collections are not identical, they probably contain many of the same materials.

Thus, the newspapers can be found in their original paper format at both State and University Library and The Royal Library. Some copies date back as far as the 1600s. In addition, a large proportion of the collection has been microfilmed, and in many cases there is more than one copy of these microfilms as well.

SB stores its newspaper collection in Skejby, Aarhus; while KB keeps its collection at various locations in Copenhagen.

The aim of digitising this material is to reduce the number of copies of newspapers in the two collections. Once a newspaper has been digitised, it will only be necessary to store a single physical paper copy of each newspaper. This will make it possible to reduce the total amount of storage space required to store the physical newspapers.

Objective

The objective of the newspaper digitisation project is to create a digital copy of some of the newspapers stored by KB so that these paper newspapers can then be disposed of. This means that the digital copies of the original paper newspapers must be suitable for reading by users. They will also be included in SB’s collections of digital cultural heritage for long-term storage.

The objective also includes digitising the largest possible number of newspapers in a quality that is good enough to make them legible, as well as making it possible to OCR scan the text subsequently. As a general rule the newspapers will be digitised based on microfilms, with a view to digitising as many of them as possible within the financial framework available.

Improved access for users

The digitised newspaper pages will form the basis of an improved, digital access to the contents of the newspaper collection for all users. This will be achieved partly by SB’s own accessibility/communication efforts, and partly by drawing up models for ways of ensuring that external parties can use the digitised files.

Financing

The project is being financed via the 2013 Danish state budget (DKK 5.5 million for each of the three years 2013-2015), and by an award of UMTS funding for the dissemination of digital newspapers (DKK 6 million). The Aarhus Stiftstidende Foundation (ASF) has also undertaken to contribute DKK 600,000.

The state budget allocation of DKK 16.5 million only covers the costs of digitisation. The plan is that the resources required to complete the project at both SB and KB should be covered by the two institutions within their own budgets. The ASF and UMTS funding will be used to make the digital newspapers accessible.