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California Digital Newspaper Collection Honored

California Digital Newspaper Collection Honored

The project of UCR’s Center for Bibliographical Studies and Research wins a UC award for technological innovation.

(June 25, 2008)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — The California Digital Newspaper Collection, a project of UC Riverside’s Center for Bibliographical Studies and Research, has won the Larry L. Sautter Silver Award for Achievement in University Computing for 2008. The award recognizes efforts to promote information sharing about technological solutions that advance the UC’s mission or improve its administrative processes.

The award was announced June 20 by the UC Office of the President and will be presented at the UC Computing Services Conference July 20-22 at UC Santa Barbara. The UCR project is one of five that will be recognized.

“We received numerous compelling applications for the Sautter award this year,” Kristine Hafner, UC associate vice president, information resources and communications, wrote in a letter to Brian Geiger, assistant director of the Center for Bibliographical Studies and Research. “The winning projects stand out for their innovation and value to the university.”

The California Digital Newspaper Collection (CDNC) is an on-going project by the center to digitize historic California newspapers and make them accessible to the public. It is one of nine funded nationally by the National Endowment for the Humanities in the past four years. To date, the center has processed more than 150,000 pages from a collection of pre-1910 papers, all of which are full-text searchable at

As part of its preservation effort the center has amassed an archive of 100,000, 100-foot reels of negative microfilm of California newspapers, the largest and most important in existence, said Henry Snyder, director of the Center for Bibliographical Studies and Research. It is this archive from which project staff have digitized the images that are appearing in increasing number on the Web page.

Snyder said the digital newspaper project is distinguished by the article-level retrieval developed, which exceeds the page-level standard set by the Library of Congress for the project.

Software specifically designed for the California Digital Newspaper Collection incorporates features found nowhere else and sets new standards for processing and displaying of digital newspapers, Snyder and Geiger said.

“It is being keenly studied by organizations all over the world,” Snyder said. “We will have test sites up in two European countries and Australasia as well as other sites in the United States this autumn. They will be followed by a commercial version available after the first of the year.”

By making historic California newspapers freely available through an easy-to-use but sophisticated online system, the project offers a unique teaching and research tool for students, teachers, genealogists and researchers, Geiger said.

The collection grew out of the California Newspaper Project, a 17-year-old effort by the Center for Bibliographical Studies to record the surviving issues of California newspapers and ensure their preservation for future generations. In 2004 the center applied for and received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities for its new National Digital Newspaper Program. The program is managed by the Library of Congress.

Members of the project team include Andrea Vanek, assistant director of the California Newspaper Project; Jeanne Gahagan, digital encoding librarian, UC Berkeley; Allan Crosthwaite, project coordinator, UC Riverside; Chuck Boucher, systems administrator, UC Riverside; and Craig Boucher and Benjamin Arai, software developers.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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