I just read over the content selection criteria for the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), which produces the Chronicling America website. I plan to use these as a guide for establishing a set of selection criteria for our larger NELA newspaper digitization efforts, but something in their criteria struck me as potentially problematic for our vision.
The criteria state “preference should be given to titles that are recognized as ‘paper of record’ at the state or county level…” I understand this approach, particularly at the national level, but doesn’t this run counter to what we are trying to do with our community newspapers of Northeast LA? Aren’t we attempting to preserve and promote access to the less-recognized histories particular to this area?
Similarly, the criteria state, “titles that provide coverage of a geographic area or a group over long time periods are preferred over short lived titles or titles with significant gaps.” Again, are we not interested precisely in the short-lived, the not-so-expertly-planned, the community-supported-and-therefore-not-necessarily-well-funded voices of NELA?
We will need to take these questions into account when we establish our own selection criteria for our long-term digitization program. For our pilot project, however, I plan to select material that truly represents our holdings, which includes long-running titles and shot-lived publications.
These technical selection criteria for microfilm are helpful too: Microfilm Selection (PDF, 1.3 MB)