Special Collections and Dayton Metro Library Partner to Create Wright Brothers Newspapers Digital Archive

Special Collections and Archives in the Wright State University Libraries and the Dayton Metro Library have partnered to create an online archive of the most complete run of Wright Brothers’ newspapers available to date. Both the Dayton Metro Library and WSU’s Special Collections and Archives house original issues of the Wright Brothers’ newspapers. By combining the two collections in an online archive, this valuable resource will be available in a readily accessible format worldwide.

West Side News, September 7, 1889, page 1

West Side News, September 7, 1889, page 1 (view on CORE Scholar)

The Wright Brothers operated a printing business from 1889 to 1899, before they started their bicycle business, and before they tackled the challenge of flight. Over the years, they worked on several publications and local newspapers, including: The Midget, a small school newspaper; church pamphlets; the West Side News; The Evening Item; parts catalogs for bicycles; and the Dayton Tattler, published for neighborhood friend and noted poet and novelist, Paul Laurence Dunbar.

With the expertise of the Digital Services Department of the Wright State University Libraries, the Wright Brothers’ newspapers will be available in digital format on both Wright State’s CORE Scholar and on the Dayton Metro Library’s Dayton Remembers digital image site, thus making the newspapers accessible in not one, but two, online locations.

The Midget, April, 1886

The Midget, April, 1886 (view on CORE Scholar)

The Midget (April 1886) and West Side News (March 1889-May 1890) are available on CORE Scholar now. The Evening Item, published from April 30-June 14, 1890, will go live in mid-May. Additional issues will go live over the next several months. The Dayton Metro Library will add the newspapers to its Dayton Remembers web site later this year.

Jamie McQuinn, Special Collections Manager for the Dayton Metro Library, said of the project: “The Dayton Metro Library welcomes this collaborative effort with Wright State University Libraries and appreciates the skills and expertise offered by the Digital Services Department. We are excited that the rich history of our community and its favorite sons will be more easily accessible to researchers in the Dayton area and around the world.”

Dawne Dewey, Head of Special Collections and Archives, Wright State University Libraries, stated: “This project benefits both institutions by combining our rich Wright Brothers Newspaper Collections into one online source. And that in turn benefits researchers. When we share our resources in this way, we make the Wright Brothers’ and Dayton’s history much more accessible.”

Jane Wildermuth, Head of Digital Services in the Wright State University Libraries, described the digitization process: “Digital Services staff digitized the Wright Brothers’ newspapers using an overhead large format scanner to capture the pages in one shot.  Pages were processed, quality checked, and made into PDFs.  We then used optical character recognition software to make the text on the pages full text searchable.  In CORE Scholar, researchers can search across all of the Wright Brothers’ newspapers to find keywords/topics quickly and efficiently.”

The Wright Brothers Newspapers Digital Archive Project will provide researchers worldwide with high quality searchable scans of over 150 issues and nearly 800 pages of news stories from the Wrights’ neighborhood publications. This project was made possible through a donation to the Communication Department at Wright State University from The Greenwood Family.

To learn more, contact Dawne Dewey at [email protected] or 937-775-2011; or Jamie McQuinn at [email protected]  or 937-496-8650.

Update 5/26/2015: Read more about this project on the Wright State News Room.

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