The University of Maryland (UMD) Libraries is a recipient of a 2020 grant award for $324,683 from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The grant award supports Phase 5 of the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project (HMNP), which is a collaborative state-wide digitization initiative associated with the National Digital Newspaper Program, funded by the NEH.
Through the HMNP, the UMD Libraries partners with other libraries and archives across the state to select historic Maryland newspapers published before 1964 and digitize them for inclusion in the Chronicling America digital newspaper collection at the Library of Congress. Chronicling America is the largest digital collection at the Library of Congress. It provides free access to over 18 million American newspaper pages from 49 states, two territories, and the District of Columbia, for use by academic researchers, K-12 students and teachers, genealogists, and the general public here in the United States and across the globe.
“Partnering with the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for Humanities on a project of this duration and magnitude is a privilege,” said Robin Pike, Manager of Digital Conversion and Media Formatting at the UMD Libraries. “We focus on making accessible newspapers not previously digitized, which has led us to rediscover historic titles overlooked by major, for-profit companies. These titles often represent smaller towns, industries, or immigrant communities that are excluded from the traditional historical record in archives. Through the inclusion of these newspapers, we facilitate social justice by reintroducing lost voices back into the digital historical record. Collectively, all state partners telling stories from lost voices on a national scale can have a large impact for historically marginalized groups.”
The National Digital Newspaper Program began in 2006 and the UMD Libraries began Maryland’s involvement in 2012. To date, the UMD Libraries has been awarded a total of nearly $1.5 million in federal grant dollars to develop this resource and has digitized approximately 100,000 pages of historic newspapers in each two-year phase of the HMNP project. Adriene Lim, Dean of Libraries, added: “This work on a large-scale, national digital project aligns with the University of Maryland’s land-grant, public service mission, and helps the Libraries meet its goals to include more diverse perspectives and histories in UMD’s distinctive collections.”
May 11, 2021