Case Study: Jewish News
The Jewish News in Virginia Beach, Virginia has documented nearly 70 years of history of the Jewish community in southern Virginia. Its historical archives, with articles covering local events as well as national and world news about the Jewish community and Israel, have been held in bound volumes up until 2012 (when the paper launched a website and digital versions of the newspaper). The printed archives are in mixed condition with several issues missing pages or having holes where articles were literally ripped from the newspaper page.
When the newspaper's longtime book editor Hal Sacks requested copies of the book reviews he had written for the paper over a span of 30 years, it became evident there was a need to digitize the archive. Digitization would not only protect the deteriorating oldest issues but it would also to provide the community with online searchable access to the rich history contained in the newspaper pages.
Shayna Horwitz was named the project's manager and was responsible for selecting the company that would delicately scan the archive and return the originals, intact, to the Jewish News. SmallTownPaper's ArchiveInABox product was chosen to digitize the archive.
The bound volumes would be safely packed up in the military-grade shipping containers ArchiveInABox provides. "There were a lot of assurances in place and when we saw the shipping container, we felt very comfortable shipping them out," notes Shayna Horwitz. "When I looked at the archive, people had ripped out articles, so sending the archives off was a risk we were willing to take."
With the process selected, the next hurdle was funding. Anxious to get started and also to take advantage of discounts provided for organizations completing the digitization within the year, The Jewish News, with Hal at the helm, turned to the community. Proceeds from a book published by Hal called Hal's Navy would fund the digitization project. A campaign kickoff was held in November 2013 with an additional appeal for the community printed in the newspaper in March 2014.
"We got $15K from individuals, $6K from the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater and $6K from the Tidewater Jewish Foundation," Horwitz notes. Additionally, Hal had committed 20% of his book sales to the area's Simon Family Jewish Community Center but the center gave those proceeds back for the archive project.
Today, the Jewish News already has some of its archives accessible and searchable online with more coming each month. The project will be completed in 2015 with more than 30,000 newspaper pages scanned and the original, bound volume archives back at in the Jewish News offices in Virginia Beach.
Horwitz says it's going to be a wonderful resource for the entire community. "I discovered so much about our history, to see the articles about how much people did for the community and Israel was empowering and gave me a sense of pride. Schools can see our history and discover things like how big a part we played in Operation Exodus. I see endless opportunities this resource will present for our future."