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Library digitally preserves The Daily Progress

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Posted: Monday, December 31, 2012 8:13 pm

April 16, 1912, was a busy day at The Daily Progress. 

On that day, the paper featured stories on the sinking of the Titanic, the beginning of construction on Charlottesville's new $35,000 Jefferson Theater and Robert H. Wood Jr., of the Boston Institute of Technology, paying a visit to relatives in town.

Detailing events as mundane as visits from out-of-towners and as momentous as the start of World War I, p ages from the early decades of The Daily Progress now can be viewed for free on the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library website.

Librarians from the University of Virginia and Jefferson-Madison spent 2012 digitizing microfilm of the paper from its 1892 founding to 1923.

"This is a project that we have been wanting to do for the last 15 years because the newspaper is such a great resource and people use it all the time," said John Halliday, regional library director.

The project got off the ground in late 2011, after regional library staff contacted UVa for help implementing the idea.

"We thought it would be a good project," said UVa librarian Bradley Daigle.

The next step, Halliday said, is to add software that recognizes characters on the scanned pages, allowing patrons to search by subject. As it stands, the website only allows visitors to browse the pages.

"We're hoping that this can kind of get the community jazzed up so that they can use the site frequently, and maybe another stage would be community feedback to make it a continuously improved project," Daigle said.

Funding for the project came from UVa and donations to the regional library.

Lawrence McConnell, publisher of The Daily Progress, hailed the project.

"This will be a great resource for historians, researchers and members of our community," McConnell said.

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