The Atlas – Mapping the Histories and Metadata of Digitised Newspapers Collections Around the World

“Between 2017 and 2019, Oceanic Exchanges, funded through the Transatlantic Partnership for Social Sciences and Humanities 2016 Digging into Data Challenge, brought together leading efforts in computational periodicals research from six countries—Finland, Germany, Mexico, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States—to examine patterns of information flow across national and linguistic boundaries. Over the past thirty years, national libraries, universities and commercial publishers around the world have made available hundreds of millions of pages of historical newspapers through mass digitisation and currently release over one million new pages per month worldwide. These have become vital resources not only for academics but for journalists, politicians, schools, and the general public. However, these digitisation programmes share a critical weakness: the very creation of national newspapers collections obscures the fact that international news exchange was central to the nineteenth-century press.

The Atlas of Digitised Newspapers and Metadata is an open access guide to digitised newspapers around the world. Its initial selection is limited in scope, being comprised of the ten databases (including the aggregator Europeana) for which we were able to secure access and licensing to the machine-readable data. Nonetheless, it aims to form the foundation of a wider mapping of collections beyond its current North Atlantic and Anglophone-Pacific focus. It brings together their histories and digitisation choices with a deeper look at the language of the digitised newspaper, the evolution of newspaper terminology and the variety of metadata available in these collections. It explores how machine-readable information about an issue, volume, page, and author is stored in the digital file alongside the raw content or text, and provides a controlled vocabulary designed to be used across disciplines, within academia and beyond.

This report draws upon multiple taxonomies: our own open access dataset, which provides a full catalogue of metadata fields across the collections, academic and industry discussions­­ of the newspaper as a journalistic form and historical artefact, digitisation guidelines and strategies, library websites, annual reports, interviews with librarians and digitisation providers and the data files themselves. The maps of this Atlas explore each of our overarching categories in detail, providing a selection of language variants, the technical definition we employed in the categorisation process, and notes on its usage across the collections and in the wider world of press history. This allows a greater understanding of how the term is currently being used in different ways by different groups and allows researchers to navigate to the specific type of information they required and ascertain its availability across these collections. Each entry also includes technical information for obtaining this data across the collections, including data types, which often vary considerably, and XPaths for locating the information within that dataset. With this information, researchers should be able to understand the different structures of these collections and develop computational means for robustly comparing datasets to explore deeper and more meaningful research….”

ALA responds to county commission decision to deny digital access to New York Times in Citrus County public libraries | News and Press Center

“The American Library Association has issued the following statement in response to the decision by the Citrus County (Florida) Board of Commissioners to not allow the Citrus County libraries to buy a digital subscription to the New York Times after one commissioner labeled the Times as “fake news”:…”

AccessLab: Workshops to broaden access to scientific research

Abstract:  AccessLabs are workshops with two simultaneous motivations, achieved through direct citizen-scientist pairings: (1) to decentralise research skills so that a broader range of people are able to access/use scientific research, and (2) to expose science researchers to the difficulties of using their research as an outsider, creating new open access advocates. Five trial AccessLabs have taken place for policy makers, media/journalists, marine sector participants, community groups, and artists. The act of pairing science academics with local community members helps build understanding and trust between groups at a time when this relationship appears to be under increasing threat from different political and economic currents in society. Here, we outline the workshop motivations, format, and evaluation, with the aim that others can build on the methods developed.

Open+: Versioning Open Social Scholarship

Abstract:  Advocates of the Open Access (OA) movement have been fighting for free and unfettered access to research output since the early 1990s. Open access is a crucial element of a fair, efficient scholarly communication system where all are able to find, interpret, and use the results of publicly-funded research. Universal open access is more possible now than ever before, thanks to networked technologies and the development of open scholarship policies. But what happens after access to research is provided? In this paper I argue that versioning scholarship across varying modes and formats would move scholarly communication from a straightforward open access system to a more engaging environment for multiple communities.

[From the body of the paper:] “Here is my suggestion for simultaneously upholding important traditions of humanistic scholarship (e.g. peer review, long-form writing), as well as taking advantage of digital technologies, while committing to open scholarship as a de facto public good and ethical imperative of higher education: versioning. Ideas gain depth and traction as they are brought to light, discussed, reviewed, and refuted. This process of refinement is how we develop convincing arguments. Instead of thinking of “lowbrow” or opular communication mechanisms as outside of the scholarly communication process, or else as a public record or starting point for an idea, what if we considered multiple versions of an argument as equally important and requiring of our sustained effort and attention? The germ of any research output is the main argument or theory—what if that germ was sprouted in various venues and forms? One could simultaneously or sequentially publish a long-form argument via open access academic journal article; work with a journalist or writer colleague to explore the same argument in a more public, online venue—revised as appropriate for such a modality; post a truncated version of the argument on a personal blog as an easy referent; and create short, pithy social media encapsulations of the argument as well. Each mode of engagement will engender different reactions and feedback, as different audiences will collaborate and create knowledge at each interaction point (Arbuckle & Stewart 2017)….”

Ghost – The Professional Publishing Platform

“We’re a proud non-profit organisation building open source technology for journalism….

Our mission is to create the best open source tools for independent journalists and writers across the world, and have a real impact on the future of online media.

Today Ghost powers an incredible range of websites; from individual bloggers who are just getting started, to large teams of writers and editors at some of the largest organisations in the world. We’ve built a sustainable business around a free core application, funded by a premium platform as a service to run it on….

We set Ghost up as non-profit foundation so that it would always be true to its users, rather than shareholders or investors. Our legal constitution ensures that the company can never be bought or sold, and one hundred percent of our revenue is reinvested into the product and the community….”

A Farewell to Free Journalism – The Washington Post – Medium

“Free journalism was a gift?—?one that journalists can no longer afford to keep giving to readers…

So how did my industry make it work for so long? The answer is that we never did, really, which is why so many newspapers and magazines are struggling to stay afloat, and so many Web publications are burning through piles of investor money as they hunt for a viable business model. The more interesting question is why we couldn’t make it work. And the answer to that lies in the structure of the traditional media business….”

A Farewell to Free Journalism – The Washington Post – Medium

“Free journalism was a gift?—?one that journalists can no longer afford to keep giving to readers…

So how did my industry make it work for so long? The answer is that we never did, really, which is why so many newspapers and magazines are struggling to stay afloat, and so many Web publications are burning through piles of investor money as they hunt for a viable business model. The more interesting question is why we couldn’t make it work. And the answer to that lies in the structure of the traditional media business….”

The future is now: How science communicators can adapt to preprints | ScienceWriters (www.NASW.org)

” “Publications in peer-review journals are hardly infallible,” Sharon Begley, senior science writer at STAT, reminded the audience, as she related instances of her own troubles with peer-reviewed research. Rather than rehashing the debate of whether preprints could be used for news stories, the session’s panelists described best approaches for reporters, editors, and PIOs to work with preprints.

To get the room familiar with preprints, Jessica Polka, director of ASAPBio, gave an overview of preprint history and how they foster collaboration. Polka noted that more direct feedback is given to authors to hone the research and development of their piece when it is put onto a preprint server. She highlighted another example of collaboration, in which graduate students start reading clubs to practice their review skills with pre-printed work freely available online.

Begley directed her talk toward science journalists. She pointed out that, when it comes to writing about preprints, “The train has already left the station.” It’s not a matter of if reporters should cover preprints, but of how to do so responsibly. No other news beat works with an embargo, she reminded the audience, “I’m at a loss for why science should be different.” …”