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Help Save the California Digital Newspaper Collection

April 18, 2012

Short version of this article:

When not creating Sutro animated GIFs, I sometimes write about local history. Pretty much anything interesting I find usually comes from one of three places:

The CDNC is a gold mine, a godsend, a treasured and fascinating view of a San Francisco and a California that are gone yet still with us every day. Where we work, where we live, where we eat and drink are all impacted by the people whose stories were captured by journalists and advertising from 100 years ago. These stories are brought back to life by the scans of the CDNC.

Just a few articles I’ve written that relied on the CDNC:

The amazing part is that the CDNC is free. This is by design:

“Simply put, we cannot and should not rely on commercial interests to properly digitize and protect our newspaper heritage for future generations.”

But we all know that free comes with a cost:

“The CDNC archive is immense: 20 terabytes of data and growing. All this data is being preserved on onsite and offsite servers and also with tape backups. Managing and safekeeping this archive requires a substantial investment in hardware and personnel.”

Over the past 10 years, the California State Legislature has funded this preservation of California’s history, scanning disintegrating newspapers and microfilm. Unfortunately I received this alarming note from the team at UC Riverside that runs the CDNC:

Last year Assembly Bill No. 121 (AB 121) eliminated all of the $216,000 in state funding for the California Newspaper Project.  This funding has also been eliminated from next year’s budget.

If State funding is not restored, work on preserving the remaining newspaper microfilm and digitizing state papers will come to a halt and will be difficult or impossible to fully resume again.

Please sign this petition requesting that the state resume funding for this educational resource that costs so little, yet gives so much.

Better yet, call your California State Senator and State Assembly Member and encourage them to restore funding for the California Newspaper Project (CNP) in this year’s budget that was eliminated last year in AB 121.

The Senate Budget Subcommittee meets TOMORROW, Thursday, April 19th, and the Assembly Subcommittee meets May 2nd, so contact them asap.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. April 18, 2012 3:48 pm

    Taking away history pr0n is just grinch-like behavior. Boo!

    Tom Ammiano’s office asked me if I was “opposed to AB 121” so I gave a brief explanation and they said they’d add me to the opposition list. Um, ok. Mark Leno’s office was equally confused, but they seemed to get it and record it.

    Thanks, Mr. Justice.

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