Saturday, September 13, 2008

More archiving thoughts

Being a furniture mover with the secret identity of a writer and vice-versa, I wondered how the Wood River Journal was going transport their 127 years of archives, along with its customized bookshelves into their new building across Main Street.

Someone told me that the new publisher, Jerry Brady took these valuable assets to Idaho Falls; presumably to patch up the books that were falling apart and possibly begin a scanning project, working hand in hand with expert Mormon Church genealogy archivists.

That's refreshing to hear, since there is a chance that the Journal will fold by the end of this year. Evidently, their grand announcement of partner shipping with Sun Valley Online never got past the inkubation stage. It would be a shame to see their historical archives warehoused in a place permanently unavailable to the public.

The other thing that would happen with the Journal’s demise would be the lack of healthy competition, which as Statesman editor Kevin Richert suggests would likely result in a slip in quality at the remaining newspaper.

Last year Shea Anderson wrote a piece for High Country News about a New Mexican newspaper, where he used to work, that recently went to the wayside. I responded to Shea’s story with a fundraising suggestion regarding preservation of archives for newspaper going out of business and later passed this on to the Newseum curators.

They were open to this idea, but at the time had their hands full in preparation for the grand opening on our National Mall.

It’s too bad that libraries and newspaper don’t work in closer proximity with each other. For instance, are librarians scanning newspapers into Pdf’s when they could be better investing their time by having the newspaper production managers e-mail them the same thing? Do they ever even discuss such items with each other? Some communities probably work more streamlined than others do, but newspaper insiders here say that whenever they try to obtain grants for such special projects, they come up against a lot of flack, because the newspaper is for profit. Hard to say but it could be that personality issues are flies in these printers ink ointment frays.

Meanwhile, Google has been raising newspaper morgues from the dead.

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