Help Save the California Digital Newspaper Collection
Short version of this article:
- The California Digital Newspaper Collection, a state treasure, needs your help. The State Assembly and Senate eliminated their funding last year, and plans to do so again this year.
- Fill out this petition to request that funding be restored, and call your state senator and assembly member to request that the cuts to the California Newspaper Project in AB 121 be reversed in this year’s budget.
- The Senate Budget Subcommittee meets tomorrow, April 19th, and the Assembly Budget Subcommittee meets May 2nd. So call your State Senator NOW and ask that they restore funding to the California Newspaper Project.
- Also, consider making a donation to help maintain the archive.
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:
- Sanborn Maps (via David Rumsey, or the SFPL)
- old SF city directories (via the directory of directories at SF Geneology, scanned by the Internet Archive)
- the California Digital Newspaper Collection (CDNC, UC Riverside)
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:
- Shipwrecks and captains
- Shipwrecks and beer
- Baseball (and beer)
- Valencia and 26th Street (and a bar)
- Valencia and 18th Street (and a beer garden)
- Baseball (and beer)
- The Bernal gold rush (and beer)
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.