New archive preserves The Kent Stater


Old Stater

Gael Reyes

Print editions of The Daily Kent Stater are now available online, with full-text digital access to issues dating back to 1940.

Thanks to efforts from the University Libraries Department of Special Collections & Archives and the Digital Projects team, 9,397 issues of The Stater have been digitized.

The project to digitize old issues of The Stater began in 2011 under the direction of Cara Gilgenbach, head of Special Collections & Archives. Virginia Dressler, digital projects librarian, came on to the project in April 2014, and has since been helping see the effort through.

“It’s been a massive project,” Dressler said. “We kind of just went through, with some based on interest. Like, for research value, we thought the ’70s would be really interesting after the May 4 shooting. But the whole purpose is to get the whole backlog up online.”

Kevin Dilley, director of student media in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, believes that this archive is an invaluable resource.

“It’s important for people who are researching the history of Kent and Kent State,” Dilley said. “We keep a print archive here, but it’s much harder to pull out the pages (and) flip through … it’s not fast or searchable,”

Issues from 1940 to the Spring 2015 are now up online in the digital archive. The team has been able to digitize all content except issues from 1926 to 1939. Dressler said that this delay is due to the sensitivity of the hard copies.

Digitizing the issues is a process that involves a myriad of steps: Kent State works with three different vendors who do raw image capturing, text encoding with optical character recognition and finally web hosting.

Dressler said that the 1926 to 1939 issues will likely be done in-house.

Both Dressler and Dilley hope that students will take advantage of the archives and learn from the first drafts of history.

“It’s interesting and really easy to get lost in these pages,” Dressler said. “You really get the sense of a student voice in these virtual pages, cover to cover. I guess that’s one thing that is really unique about student newspaper in my mind — the voice and opinion that reflect that particular time.”

Contact Gael Reyes is the libraries reporter, contact her at [email protected].