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Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • Read all about it: Explore early Dodge City history on the Web

  •     People all over the world with an interest in Dodge City history got an early Christmas present this year when a selection of early-day Dodge newspapers became available online.     Early pages from the Dodge City Times and the Globe-Republican are among 100,000 pages from K...
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  •     People all over the world with an interest in Dodge City history got an early Christmas present this year when a selection of early-day Dodge newspapers became available online.
        Early pages from the Dodge City Times and the Globe-Republican are among 100,000 pages from Kansas newspapers chosen for inclusion on the site over the course of a two-year project.
        The Kansas State Historical Society was awarded a grant from the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities to digitize the pages.
        A full-time employee was hired at the society’s offices in Topeka just over a year ago, and the process of getting the pages online began.
        The first step is a frame-by-frame inspection of each page to be digitized.
        “We send high-quality microfilm images of the pages to a vendor and they convert the images using OCR technology, and the pages come back to us in HTML code,” Margaret Knecht, head of the library section of the State Archives and Library, said in a phone interview Friday.
        The optical character recognition technology results in not just images of the historic pages, but fully searchable databases.
        “You can type in anything and find it in any of the pages,” Knecht said.
        Once the code is complete, the KSHS checks it for accuracy. Then the files go to the Library of Congress, where monthly additions to the nationwide project add pages to the growing library.
        The KSHS staff also prepares an essay about each publication and a list of libraries when you can find either original copies or microfilm of the newspaper.
        The newly available pages from Dodge City papers include issues of the Dodge City Times, which was published from 1876 to 1891, and the Globe Republican, which was published from 1889 to 1910.
        Dave Webb, assistant director of the Kansas Heritage Center, served on the advisory board that helped KSHS staff select which of the state’s many historic newspapers would be selected for the project.
        “Of course, with a limit of 100,000 pages, we could only begin to make a small dent in digitizing the historical society’s collections, but I’m glad Dodge City was included,” Webb said.
        According to Knecht, the current two-year project will transfer 152 rolls of microfilm. The historical society’s collection of Kansas newspapers from 1860 through 1922 consists of over 13,000 rolls.
        “And our complete collection up to the current date must be somewhere around 60 or 70,000 by now,” Knecht said. “Of course, there were some issues we couldn’t use because of technical problems. Early-day newspapers were often printed on good rag paper, but there was acid in the ink.
        As a result, some pages have bled through to such an extent that the optical character recognition software cannot make sense of the text.
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    See for yourself
        The Kansas pages are part of a much larger project: a partnership between the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Arts, called “Chronicling America.”
        Over 3 million news pages from 22 states and the District of Columbia are currently available on the site. The earliest is a copy of “The Louisiana Democrat” from July 1859. No issues past 1922 have been digitized yet due to copyright concerns.
        To explore the early history of America as published in its newspapers, go to http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
        To see pages from the Dodge City Times and Globe Republican, click on “See All Available Newspapers,” then choose “Kansas,” find the paper you’re interested in and browse issues.
       
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