Thursday, September 17, 2015

Florida Today Goes Digital!

A few weeks ago the announcement was made that Ancestry, the leader in family history and consumer genetics, was collaborating with Gannett Co., Inc., the largest local-to-national media company, to digitize more than 80 daily newspapers across the nation. These newspapers will be available via a subscription to Newspapers.com, which is a business unit of Ancestry. Since Gannett owns our very own Florida Today I was hoping that it would be included among these papers.  Yesterday I had a chance to meet with the new Editor of Florida Today, Bob Gabordi, and ask him about the announcement. Fortunately, I was able to confirm that YES, the Florida Today will be included in this project! This announcement is like an early Christmas present for us since we receive daily requests to assist individuals trying to find articles and photographs previously published in the paper. Currently we have a complete collection of the paper on micro-film, and thanks to our volunteers we have some indexes to obituaries that appeared in the paper, but there are no subject indexes and no way to search it beside taking a roll and just looking through it page by page. Just yesterday I had a request from a lady whose terminally ill father wanted to find an article published about him in his youth, but she wasn't even sure what year it might have appeared in. Now helping people with searches like these will be much easier!

This project is planned to provide viewers with "a historical viewing experience complete with full text search, clipping and sharing features." The database will ultimately include every available page from the first date of publication up to issues from 30 days ago. Archives will be updated on a regular basis with content from the previous month. Gannett digital subscribers will have access to the most recent two years of content and complete archives will be available to everyone through a monthly or annual subscription. As most of you know the library system is already a subscriber to Ancestry.com and hopefully we will be able to add access to Newspapers.com with our package. Apparently they are going in alphabetical order by newspaper title, so this all should be happening in the near future. Fingers crossed!!!