The new year has brought exciting progress to the New Jersey Digital Newspaper Project. A dedicated office for the Project has been established in Alexander Library on the Rutgers–New Brunswick campus. This space can comfortably accommodate three people and houses a computer and microfilm reader, essential for any microfilm-based project! Additionally, the room contains the remaining critical equipment which will be needed throughout the project: film reel arms, a light box, densitometer, jeweler’s loupe, a 100x handheld microscope, static-free cloths, and (of course) white gloves. All of this is needed to closely examine source microfilm for scratches, text bleeding, shadowing, and other potential imperfections (these must be noted prior to microfilm duplication and digitization). The room also has ample storage for other project supplies.
On January 19 the team members had hands-on training to learn how to properly use the equipment. Greg Gill from the New Jersey State Archives and Tara Kelley from Rutgers University Libraries took everyone through the particulars concerning handling and viewing microfilm. The project team practiced taking density and resolution readings, checking the film for flaws, and generally becoming familiar with the processes that will be performed on all the selected microfilm masters.
Finally, working closely with the project partners the Advisory Board has conditionally selected the newspaper titles to be digitized. These titles must be approved by the Library of Congress. Look for a formal announcement in the near future!
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