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Tax the Unmarried, Pay for Social Security

Monday, January 31st, 2011 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections | No Comments »


Suggest Tax for All the Unmarried. Tacoma Times, September 30, 1910, Second Section, Page 9

Suggest Tax for All the Unmarried. Tacoma Times, September 30, 1910, Second Section, Page 9

From the pages of the Tacoma Times, Sept. 30, 1910.

In September of 1910, officials from the Finance Ministry in Paris were scrambling to come up with ways to pay for the French Old Age Pensions bill, a compulsary insurance plan similar to social security.  The Minister of Finance, M. Cochery, asked clerks to come up with ideas and was bombarded with suggestions, some ideas were “decidedly original” and some that were “highly impracticle.”

Among the proposed subjects of taxation: “Bachelors and old maids; all unmarried people over 30, unless they can prove that they have twice proposed marriage and been refused, to pay annual tax until they marry; pianos; first class railway tickets; bath rooms in private houses; original paintings; toys; plays which have had more than 50 performances, and books after their first editions.”

Search the Tacoma Times and other historic newspapers issues from around the US for free at chroniclingamerica.loc.gov. Washington newspapers provided by the Washington State Library, funded by the National Endowment for Humanaties and supported by the Library of Congress.

ps - Wonder which tax suggestions were actually put forward to pay for France’s Old Age Pensions bill? Read this article in the New York Times archives, Oct. 2, 1910

State Library Contributes 23 Newspaper Titles to Chronicling America

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public | No Comments »


The Washington State Library recently contributed another 23,000 historic newspaper pages from seven newspapers to Chronicling America, making Washington State’s contribution to the program a total of 23 titles and over 115,000 pages. Read and research issues from these and other newspapers around the U.S. for free at chroniclingamerica.loc.gov

100 years ago. Seattle Star, September 24, 2010

100 years ago. Seattle Star, September 24, 2010

There are now 23 newspapers from Washington State currently included in Chronicling America:  

Chronicling America provides free and open access to nearly 2.7 million full-text searchable pages from 348 titles published between 1860 and 1922 in 22 states and the District of Columbia. The Washington State Library’s National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) grant was renewed through June 2012, allowing more pages from other newspapers around Washington State to be uploaded over the next two years. 

For more information about Chronicling America, contact Laura Robinson, project manager for Washington’s National Digital Newspaper Program, at laura.robinson@sos.wa.gov or (360) 570-5568.

Washington Adds 50,000 Newspaper Pages to Chronicling America

Thursday, June 24th, 2010 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public | 1 Comment »


The Washington State Library recently contributed another 50,000 historic newspaper pages from nine newspapers to Chronicling America, making Washington State’s contribution to the program a total of 16 titles and 92,000 pages. People can read and research issues from these and other newspapers around the U.S. for free at chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.

100 Years Ago... Tacoma Times from June 24, 1910

100 Years Ago. Tacoma Times, June 24, 1910

There are now 16 newspapers from Washington State currently included in Chronicling America:

Chronicling America provides free and open access to more than 2.3 million full-text searchable pages from 295 titles published between 1860 and 1922 in 19 states and the District of Columbia. The Washington State Library’s National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) grant was recently renewed through June of 2012, allowing more pages from other newspapers around Washington State to be uploaded over the next two years.

For more information about Chronicling America, contact Laura Robinson, project manager for Washington’s National Digital Newspaper Program, at laura.robinson@sos.wa.gov or (360) 570-5568.

Digitizing Newspapers: Part III – Outsourcing

Friday, February 5th, 2010 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, Technology and Resources | No Comments »


I got off a long conversation with our newspaper digitization vendor and thought I should do something cathartic … like continuing our running discussion of newspaper digitization.

Washington’s National Digital Newspaper Program (outsourcing):

Click to see OCR example from the Pullman Herald at 100% resolution

Click to see OCR example from the Pullman Herald at 100% resolution

We last talked about the human resource intensive process of digitizing newspapers with a consumer-grade film scanner and the article-level indexing we do in-house for our Pioneer Newspaper collection.

In 2008 we were awarded an NDNP grant and began researching proposals to outsource the scanning and text conversion of 100,000 newspaper pages. OCR (optical character recognition) and scanning technology had come a long way since we began the Pioneer Newspaper collection so we were excited to see the results from our initial test scans. However, while outsourcing a large scale digitization project has its advantages, it also shares some of the same challenges already discussed, and produces a few unique ones:

Read the rest of this entry »

8 Washington Newspapers Added to Chronicling America!

Monday, December 21st, 2009 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public | No Comments »


Front page of the Colville Examiner, December 18, 1909

Front page of the Colville Examiner
December 18, 1909

On Friday, December 18, more than 42,000 historic newspaper pages from 8 Washington newspapers were contributed by the Washington State Library to the Chronicling America web site, hosted by the Library of Congress. The site provides free and open access to over 1.7 million pages from 212 titles, that were published between 1880 and 1922 in 15 states and the District of Columbia. More pages from other newspapers around Washington State will be periodically uploaded throughout 2010 as part of WSL’s National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) grant. Pages will also be loaded locally and included in the WSL’s existing Historic Newspapers in Washington collection.

Representation from Washington State Newspapers:

Chronicling America is a project of the National Digital Newspaper Program, a partnership between multiple organizations including the Washington State Library, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress … Read more about it!

Contact Laura Robinson, National Digital Newspaper Program Manager, laura.robinson@sos.wa.gov, 360.570.5568, for more information about Washington State’s participation in NDNP.

Libraries and Copyright

Monday, August 31st, 2009 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries | No Comments »


sec108Spinner

The Section 108 Spinner; available to help Librarians navigate the morass that is Section 108 of the US Copyright Code

I have a love/hate relationship with the copyright exceptions for libraries and researchers. I’m grateful there are exceptions but I’m just not sure it’s possible things could be *more* confusing.

Kudos to the Copyright Advisory Network (http://librarycopyright.net) for these easy-to-use tools to help libraries and others understand these confusing rules.

For librarians the Section 108 Spinner:
http://librarycopyright.net/108spinner/

For teachers the Exceptions for Instructors tool:
http://librarycopyright.net/etool/

For researches (and everyone) the Public Domain Slider and the Fair Use Evaluator:
http://librarycopyright.net/fairuse/
http://librarycopyright.net/digitalslider/

National Newspaper Archive Celebrates 1M Pages Online

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public | No Comments »


Scenes in the proposed new National Park among Montana's glaciers (LOC)

Scenes in the proposed new National Park among Montana's glaciers (LOC)

The National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) recently celebrated adding 1 million pages to the Library of Congress’s Chronicling America site and adding 7 more states to the program. Read more about this major milestone at washingtonpost.com.

The program is a combined effort of the Library of Congress, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and institutions from 22 states (including Washington State). Access to the historic newspaper archive is free at chroniclingamerica.loc.gov. Selected illustrated newspaper pages have also been uploaded on the Library of Congress Flickr Commons.

Read more about Washington State’s participation in the National Digital Newspaper Program. The first of the Washington State newspapers selected for NDNP are digitized and will soon be added to Chronicling America – stay tuned…

Teaching history with technology

Friday, June 19th, 2009 Posted in Articles, For the Public, Technology and Resources | No Comments »


Berlin Wall
Berlin Wall on Flickrsome rights reserved

This year marks twenty years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Today in Berlin visitors often ask “where is the wall?” so the city commissioned a company to come up with a way help visitors (and young Germans) trace the original path of the wall.

Folks can use a multimedia guide called the “Mauer Guide” (a.k.a Wall Guide). It is gps-triggered to locate you in the city on the path and shows archival video footage, photos and stories. Watch a video about the Wall Tour at Time.com.

This made me curious about other uses of technology to teach visitors about our state and history. I found that the GA’s Office has a list of virtual and self-guided tours of Washington and Olympia. Folks can visit Olympia from their computer screen. Another example of how technology can be used to give context to the past and present.

First Electronic Daily Newspaper Published in 1939?

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009 Posted in Articles, For the Public | 1 Comment »


I’ve been tracking news and posts about digital newspapers and came across this post (from the  E-media Tidbits blog at PoynterOnline): First Electronic Daily Newspaper Published in 1939?

image from lighteningfield.com allowed under a Creative Commons License
image from lightningfield.com allowed under a Creative Commons License

The transmittal of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch over the radio to output on a “home facsimile receiver” required 15 minutes to transmit one page! The price of the receivers was about $260. Sounds a lot like the current model of subscribing to newspapers via a wireless e-reader. However, unlike the radio dispatch, now there is no paper involved and the process is much faster and cheaper (though some could argue the ‘cheaper’ aspect).

It’s interesting to see things evolve. Hopefully the evolution of the newspaper will mean the answer to its continuing existence – though I’m not sure how long the term ‘newspaper’ will be around. I think one thing that makes this evolution different than the experiment from 1939 is that readers can be larger participants – rather than passive subscribers. Take, for example, the online radio channel launched by The Journal newspaper in the UK. This raises fascinating questions about how libraries and archives will need to not only capture and preserve digital news content, but also the comments and “radio shows” that are created as a direct result of such content. Imagine not just reading an old newspaper article but being able to read and hear what people thought about it.

The Way to a Mans Vote – Through his Stomach?

Monday, March 16th, 2009 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For the Public | 1 Comment »


sl_devoesbji_000546Sara Medlicott, an intern from the Evergreen State College,  shares her impressions of one of the clippings she indexed from the Emma Smith DeVoe collection.

The Washington State Library received the collection of Emma Smith DeVoe, a prominent Washington suffrage leader. Her letters and scrapbooks have been digitized and are now being indexed for the Washington Women’s History Consortium. Throughout the course of indexing, we have all discovered much about the hidden history of the suffrage movement.  Here is an example:

In 1910, the Washington State Suffragists faced a crucial turning point – a ballot initiative allowed state voters to decide whether Washington women should have the vote. They faced a great deal of resistance, the initiative itself was vaguely worded, never mentioning the words “woman” or “suffrage.” Not to be deterred, the multiple women’s clubs and suffrage organizations of Washington State waged a massive campaign winning over many chapters of the grange, unions and individuals as supporters. Their tactics were creative and ranged from an all women edition of the Tacoma Daily News to “Suffrage Entertainment Nights” which featured recitations, songs and other performance. One of the most clever dual outreach and fundraiser projects was organized by the Washington Equal Suffrage Association; a cookbook – Votes for Women, Good Things to Eat: Washington Women’s Cookbook.

A common argument of anti-suffragists was that women wouldn’t take care of their homes and families if they became involved in politics. Linda Jennings found members from all over the state, including many prominent leaders, with a broad range of recipes, menu planners and household tips.  Each section begins with a quote on suffrage and range from the classic ‘Entrees’ and ‘Soups’ to the surprising ‘Pineapple Deserts’ and ‘Sailors Recipes’. The cookbook is now available online through The Historic  American Cookbook Project. You can download a pdf from their website. While it was difficult for a modern vegetarian to find many appetizing snacks in the book, it was a pleasure to browse and I found much of the narrative content to be incredibly relevant. We attempted the German Lightening Cake, and found the recipe difficult to execute, this is no cookbook for the casual baker. If you are up for the challenge, you could host a suffrage themed party! It was fun to discover the suffragists weren’t the stuffy old uptight crowd they are often purported to be, they could have a little fun with their opponents. From the preface – “Home, a smiling woman, and a good dinner – does not the heart of man yearn toward this trio at evening time? In the best interests of all concerned, we offer you this little book.” I don’t doubt Ms. Jennings wrote those words with a wink.