10 Million Newspaper Pages

Posted by & filed under Featured, General, Texas Digital Newspaper Program.

On July 7, 2023, the Texas Digital Newspaper Program reached 10 million pages of newspapers. These are newspapers digitally preserved, freely accessible, and fully text-searchable in The Portal to Texas History, hosted by University of North Texas Libraries.

Who makes the Texas Digital Newspaper Program possible?

Encompassing 912,623 newspaper issues, the TDNP collection is built by partners from across Texas. The top three most contributing partners of newspapers, in order, are: The Texas Digital Newspaper Program collection represents a massive endeavor in preservation, digitization, and digital access to news content. Spanning over 200 years of history from or related to Texas and the South, TDNP includes newspapers in Spanish, German, Czech, Hebrew, Chinese, Italian, French, and Swedish, as well as one serial title in Esperanto. This past year, we have added newspaper titles from communities as small as 612 in population, as well as from big cities, including Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Galveston, among others. Additions of newspapers in TDNP have been made possible through generous support from multiple groups, including: In addition to these sponsors of digital newspaper preservation, partners from cities all over Texas have worked very hard to prepare their newspaper collections for preservation and digital access. A range of tasks go into digitizing a community newspaper, from grant-writing by partnering groups, rescuing newspapers from such places as high hurricane-risk locations, filing cabinets, hot and leaky barns, backs of trucks, or abandoned buildings, to name a few examples of how far contributors have gone to rescue newspapers. Many private individuals have helped their local public libraries prepare grant applications to fund building access to their community newspapers, saying things like, “Our community might not be here in 50 years, but I know our newspapers will be available and visible through The Portal to Texas History.” The ability of TDNP to guarantee long-term preservation and access in perpetuity is also possible because of The Cathy Nelson Hartman Portal to Texas History Endowment, which, “. . . enables UNT to extend the impact of the Portal by creating a permanent, sustainable source of income.”

Fun and Interesting Highlights

Searching for St. Antonio locates 1813 issues of the National Intelligencer, documenting the Mexican revolt from Spanish authority Searching for “St. Antonio” on the Portal locates 1813 issues of the National Intelligencer, documenting the Mexican revolt from Spanish authority, such as this June 10, 1813 clipping. The Representative, volume 1, number 1 This clipping from volume 1, number 1, highlights the mission of the first African American-owned and edited newspaper in Texas. Published by Richard Nelson, issues of The Representative available in the Texas Digital Newspaper Program span 1871-1872.
From the Rosenberg Library in Galveston, we have digitized multiple years of the Evening Tribune, and this weatherbird family has helped us with forecasts of the weather and how it will impact upcoming events in the city.
Weatherbird: I’m happy because I’m alive, from January 26, 1914. Weatherbird: It’s anything for style, from January 8, 1914.
Weatherbird, asking the sun to "have a heart!" Weatherbird, asking the sun to “have a heart!” in this July 15, 1915 issue. Weatherbird encourages suffrage, but it will be windy, according to this November 28, 1913 issue.

Galveston, in 1917, welcomed the Texas Press Association

Posted by & filed under Featured, General, Texas Digital Newspaper Program.

Last week, we got to represent the Texas Digital Newspaper Program at the Texas Press Association’s 2023 Annual Meeting & Trade Show.  Tim Gieringer and Ana Krahmer ran a vendor table, which gave them the chance to speak with publishers from across Texas about community news preservation. The Texas Press Association partners with UNT Libraries to digitally preserve their member-publisher PDF editions, which are submitted to TPA for clipping service and then compiled by UNT for digital preservation; with publisher permission, UNT also makes these PDF editions publicly available via The Portal to Texas History.  Texas is a leader in the U.S. in born-digital PDF preservation because of this partnership, and this is one of the many reasons we love visiting with publishers to talk about preserving and building digital access to their newspaper runs.  Our participation in the Texas Press Association was sponsored by the Cathy N. Hartman Portal to Texas History Endowment.

Texas has a very long publishing history, with news related to the area spanning from when it was still part of Spain, and Texas publishers truly recognize the importance of capturing this history.  While the Texas Digital Newspaper Program can midwife digitization of a community’s newspaper run at all stages, from physical newspaper pages to a digitally-preserved, open collection, the publishers are the people on the front lines, and they have been preserving the physical newspapers for decades.  The work of TDNP is only possible through the support of and appreciation for history that our Texas publishers show, and the Texas Press Association annual meetings teach us this every year. 

At these annual meetings, we talk with three different types of publishers:

Ana Krahmer and Tim Gieringer host a vendor table at the 2023 Texas Press Association Annual meeting

Ana Krahmer and Tim Gieringer hosted a vendor table at the 2023 Texas Press Association Annual meeting, on June 1-2.

1) people who are working with us already; 2) people who have heard of us but aren’t sure how to participate; 3) people who have not heard of us.  We think of the group 1 publishers as the veterans, some of whom have been partners with TDNP for over a decade.  With this group, we talk about new ways to use The Portal to Texas History for research, and we always like to continue the conversation about local preservation with libraries or historical societies in their cities.  We walk the second group through our work processes, including how to coordinate with their local libraries to apply for grant funding, explaining the different groups who support digital newspaper preservation in Texas:

  • The Tocker Foundation: Supports newspaper digitization projects for Texas communities with populations below 12,000.
  • The Ladd & Katherine Hancher Library Foundation: Supports newspaper digitization for Texas communities with populations below 50,000.
  • The Texas State Library & Archives Commission: Funded through the Institution of Museum and Library Services’ Library Services and Technology Act, the TexTreasures grants are a competitive program administered by the Texas State Library & Archives Commission, supporting newspaper digitization for libraries across the state, representing communities of any population size.  

When we meet with the third group, we get to show off the newspaper collection on The Portal to Texas History, explaining that TDNP is the largest, single-state, open-access digital preservation repository for newspapers in the U.S. We also introduce these publishers to Chronicling America, which provides access to newspapers from all fifty states.  Our goal is to help show publishers the value of building a digital preservation archive for their newspaper collections, in hopes that they will one day be interested in partnering with us to add their content.

Newspaper publishers do a lot of invisible work for their communities, and one of the most valuable and important things they do is preserving their newspaper collections.  We are both honored and overjoyed to help publishers with their preservation efforts, and we thank the Texas Press Association for their continued dedication to helping publishers in this endeavor.

Texas State Library & Archives Commission logo Tocker Foundation Logo



Posted by & filed under General.

Barbara Jordan holding an award

In May of 2022, The Portal to Texas History announced the call for submissions for its most recent round of the Rescuing Texas History program. Rescuing Texas History 2022, is the fourteenth year of the program, which has brought to light over 75,700 items from 383 projects. Since the beginning of the program there have been over 16 million uses of materials hosted on The Portal to Texas History that were received in response to past call for submissions.

Each selected project is provided with up to $1,000 of digitization services and the materials come from libraries, archives, museums, historical societies, and other groups (including individuals) that house historical materials.

We are thrilled to announce this year’s awardees! Congratulations to:

Private Collection of the Ritchie Family Fannin County Museum of History Fort Davis Historical Society Botanical Research Institute of Texas
First Baptist Church of Rockwall Tarrant County Black Historical and Genealogical Society Texas Lutheran University Hondo Public Library
Private Collection of TB Willis Fort Worth Jewish Archives Fannin County Historical Commission Lunar Planetary Institute Library
Interurban Railway Museum City of Galveston Historic Upshur Museum Moody Medical Library
Private Collection of the Gellner Family Midland Historical Society Kerr County Historical Commission Botanical Research Institute of Texas

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University of North Texas Libraries is the contributing institution for the State of Texas to the National Endowment for the Humanities’ National Digital Newspaper Program, in partnership with the Library of Congress, supporting development of Chronicling America, a nationwide newspaper database, spanning 1777-1963.

As part of this work, NDNP has formed a Race & Ethnicity in Title Essays working group, which has undertaken to develop a keyword thesaurus to facilitate searching with historical terms rather than current terms to describe people and groups. The Race and Ethnicity Keyword Thesaurus tries to address keyword searching across time, providing contextualized examples from newspaper collections to help users more easily delve into historical content.  This thesaurus is intended for all levels of researchers, and it includes a how-to guide, as well as as information about how Optical Character Recognition (OCR) in newspapers can affect the search experience.

In this thesaurus, you can find terms explained through “Related Terms,” “Definitions,” “Contextual Considerations,” and “Examples.”  Shown below is the entry for “Israelite,” a word commonly used in U.S. newspapers during the late-19th and early-20th centuries.

Keyword thesaurus example term, “Israelite.”

The thesaurus also includes a harmful language statement, which pops up before researchers look at the actual thesaurus, warning that these are historic terms, and that while these are not words we use today, the words in this thesaurus are included “to support research into the lives and experiences of various communities, rather than to propagate the use of derogatory or harmful language.”

In addition to this thesaurus being helpful for engaging with Chronicling America newspaper content, this thesaurus can also help research with newspapers on The Portal to Texas History.

Researchers may find this especially helpful when they work with Proximity Search, and a visit to the Proximity Search Quick Tip might help you locate that one person or event you’ve been trying to find for the past few years!



Posted by & filed under General, Quick Tips.

Special thanks to Maci Coates for her helpful instructions about Proximity Search.

Proximity Search

The UNT Digital Collections interfaces, including The Portal to Texas History, The Gateway to Oklahoma History, and UNT Scholarly works, incorporate multiple different methods for conducting research.  One of the key methods for finding information about people and events within newspapers is Proximity Search.

Proximity Search is best for when you know words that could be in sentence form in a newspaper or other article, for instance if you know that a certain event happened to a certain person. For example, you can input “Smith accident” within 10 words of each other and the search will pull up articles that have a sentence along the lines of “Smith was in a [insert] accident today.” Below are instructions for how to use Proximity Search ).

  1. After you open Proximity Search in another tab, insert your search terms (ex. Smith accident”) in the first box.
  2. Select how many words you want to limit the search in. In this example, I chose to see the results of instances where Smith and accident were within 10 words of each other.

    3. For the “Limited to” prompt, you can leave it at “Full Text of Item”, or if you know it will be in the Title, Description, etc. this is where you would limit that search.


Self-Archiving Tips for Scholarly Works Authors

UNT Scholarly Works is our open access institutional repository. It provides long-term preservation and access to all forms of scholarship created by faculty, staff, and students here at UNT.

This tip isn’t related to interacting with the repository as a visitor but how to interact with the repository as a creator. We accept a variety of items to the repository, including already published material. A common question or area of concern we encounter with submitting published material to the repository is copyright. We try to ensure we are staying within the bounds of copyright law when we make material available in the repository, so how are we able to host copyrighted work? Self-archiving.

File:Open Access PLoS.svg” by art designer at PLoS. I converted a pdf into svg is marked with CC BY-SA 3.0.


Many large publishers (like Elsevier, Springer, Routledge, etc.) allow authors to share and archive their work through pre-approved locations, which usually include institutional repositories. Each publisher is different, so we always confirm self-archiving policies with the publisher or editor before we accept the work into the repository. Usually publishers don’t allow the published version to be shared with institutional repositories, but earlier versions of the article, book chapter, conference proceeding, etc. can be hosted in the institutional repository of the authors. Earlier versions are commonly referred to as manuscripts. Again, the rules and definitions for self-archiving manuscripts varies by publisher, but it gives authors a way to distribute their work on their own terms.

When you look to publish your work check out their rules for self-archiving. If you’re passionate about open access or your institution or funder requires openly accessible publications, then this might influence your choice in publisher. Not every publisher allows for self-archiving, or they might have unique requirements which make the process overly complicated. This information is most commonly found using the term self-archiving, but the terms green open access and author rights are sometimes used in relation to these policies.

And when in doubt, reach out to your library! Here at UNT, you can email the repository directly (untrepository@unt.edu) or contact the Repository Librarian (whitney.freeman@unt.edu).