University Library now digitized nearly 50 years of the Kent Stater

Stephanie Rosso

This semester, Kent State University Library recently finished digitizing all issues of the Kent Stater from the 1980s now making nearly 50 years of past published news available to the public.

The University Library has been conducting a multi-year project starting in 2011 to digitize every issue of the Daily Kent Stater from the fall of 1939 through the fall of 1989. Kent Summer News issues are also included from the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

The project has been funded by the Kent State University Libraries so that anyone, not just Kent State students, has access to the campus’ history for free.

Dean of University Libraries James Bracken has been helping with the archiving process. He said the University Library decided to digitally archive the school’s newspapers because it was a chance to restore the stories.

“The papers were printed on heavily acidic, cheap paper, and they are falling apart,” he said. “So putting it on a digital format makes it so that it’s preserved and it’s accessible.”

Bracken also said the digitization of the newspapers is for alumni who visit Kent State for their graduation anniversary during homecoming.  

“When we finished the 1950s, the class of 1950 was coming back for their 50th anniversary and we wanted to catch that class and say ‘What did you do? Were you in the paper?’”

Not only are the archives used to restore the articles and attract alumni, but they are accessible for students to study past events such as May 4th.

“We digitized the decades of the 60s and the 70s first, so that students who were studying May 4th would have all the papers they would ever want to look at,” Bracken said.

After the 1960s and 1970s were digitized, the library started working on the other decades.

Senior fashion merchandising major Molly Hanlon said she thinks the digitization of the Stater is important in preserving Kent State’s history.

“This university has so much history to offer not only Kent students, but for anyone around the world,” she said. “The accessibility into the past should be absolutely taken advantage of.”

Hanlon agrees that using the archives for class research has increased the easiness in obtaining past information.

“Now students don’t have to walk to the special collections section in the library to get what they want,” she said. “Whatever we need is at our fingertips, which saves time.”

Bracken said that every school should digitize their newspapers.

“Wouldn’t it be cool to see big college towns around Ohio and say ‘What did it look like?’ We need to do this because it’s (Kent’s history) and we can make it available to anyone around the world,” he said.

The Stater archives are accessible for free at the University Libraries website on the “Daily Kent Stater Digital Archive” page.

Contact Stephanie Rosso at [email protected]