Elizabethtown College newspaper database brings past to the present
February 24, 2017   //   By:   //   Campus & Community, Campus and Community

It took only one year for an online database to publish more than 100 years of a college newspaper.

Elizabethtown College’s High Library and Hess Archives recently digitized its archived school newspapers. These publications that date back to 1904 and continue through 2009, were uploaded to the Internet Archive and are accessible to the public.

Archivist Rachel Grove Rohrbaugh assisted in transferring the newspapers to the digital media. The process began just over a year ago, when Erin Krause ’16 and Andrea Eckert ’16 went over the papers to make sure no pages or editions were missing. When the library had enough room in its budget to send the documents to a professional digitization business, Grove Rohrbaugh took the opportunity.

“It is pretty labor intensive to scan all of those documents,” Grove Rohrbaugh said, noting that the library staff saved time and resources by sending the documents to Creekside Digital, a scanning company in Maryland. Wary of the dangers of mailing the documents, Grove Rohrbaugh drove the papers there, herself. After a few months’ work, Creekside Digital successfully scanned the files and sent them back.

It’s about keeping the paper copies we have safe.”

Laureen Bogel, administrative assistant to the director of the library, combed through the digital files to ensure that the copies were clear, and no words or photographs had been cut off. According to Grove Rohrbaugh, this took quite a while.

The database includes the original E-town newspaper, Our College Times, as well as the later publication The Etownian, which continues to this day. Through the Hess Archives digital collections website, users can browse by individual academic year or search by keywords. Using digital copies means the physical copies will not tear or be damaged further.

“It’s about keeping the paper copies we have safe,” Grove Rohrbaugh said.

More recent articles from The Etownian can be found on the College paper’s website. Grove Rohrbaugh currently is working with staff members of The Etownian to add those articles to the database, moving forward.

High Library’s digital collections also include photographs from 1890 to the present day, books from members of the Church of the Brethren from as early as 1745 and college yearbooks, the Etonian (1922–1950) and the Conestogan (1951–present).

Currently, the High Library is working to digitize a Civil War era diary acquired by the Young Center and now housed in the Hess Archives. The diary is by Cyrus Bucher, a Brethren farmer and later minister. Student assistants have been photographing the text, and history students are transcribing it.

About the Author :

Rebecca Easton is a sophomore at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania. She is currently studying English with a concentration in professional writing, and is pursuing a minor in communications. Her primary interests in these fields include journalistic writing, copy editing and photography. She currently works for the Elizabethtown College Center for Student Success as a writing tutor. She also works for the Office of Marketing and Communications.