Disbinding bound volumes for scanning

NELA Newspapers stored in a garage before move to storage unit, 2010

NELA Newspapers stored in a garage before move to storage unit, 2010

We knew from the beginning of this project that disbinding was going to be a necessary step in scanning our bound volumes of newspaper. Most of the volumes in our collection are bound very close to the text, leaving very shallow to no margins. We recorded information on binding quality and margin size in our condition survey, and found that even if there was space between the text and binding, the shadow created by the binding would still effect the quality of the image when scanned.

For our representative sample, we chose to have Backstage disbind a 1942 volume of the Highland Park Post-Dispatch, and a 1952-1953 volume of The Occidental (Oxy’s college newspaper) before scanning. See below for sample scans from these volumes after disbinding.

Highland Park Post-Dispatch, January 1, 1942

Highland Park Post-Dispatch, January 1, 1942

Note that some of the paper ripped from the disbinding process, which we understood was a risk. We learned that this damage is due to the binding glue that seeped into the pages of the volume, and the brittle quality of the paper. Fortunately, there was minimal text loss, and the resulting image displays more text than an image taken from this volume if it were bound.

The Occidental, September 26, 1952

The Occidental, September 26, 1952

This volume was bound with staples, as opposed to glue, and it appears that no paper damage occurred in the disbinding process. However, the pages in this volume had been trimmed to fit the binding when it was produced in the 1950s, which will result in a small amount of text loss in our final images, mostly around the tops of the pages.

Stay tuned for sample scans of the microfilm in our collection!


Project update: we are scanning!

This is just a quick update that we have shipped our materials off to Pennsylvania to be scanned by Backstage Library Works. We are thrilled that we have gotten to this stage of the project, and can’t wait to see the images!


We will be scanning at least one year from the following titles, as well as several special and anniversary issues:

  • Highland Park Herald
  • Highland Park News-Herald & Journal
  • Highland Park Post-Dispatch
  • Eagle Rock Sentinel
  • Eagle Rock Advertiser
  • El Sereno Star
  • Belvedere Citizen
  • Eastside Journal
  • South Pasadena Journal
  • The Occidental

Help us identify publication dates

In a previous post, I invited others to suggest other NELA titles not currently listed in our collection inventory. Here, I have included the same list, and am hoping some of our community members can help us identify and correct the first and last dates of publication for these titles. Please share any information you have in the comment section, or email me at dundon @ oxy.edu. Thank you!

Belvedere Citizen                                 (1934-current, or possibly 4/27/1994)
Boulevard Sentinel                               (5/17/1997- current)
The Campus Sleuth                              (1936-?)
Community Press                                  (1932-19?? [possibly 1937])
Eagle Rock Advertiser                          (1928-12/27/1945)
Eagle Rock Independent                      (1/1929-19??)
Eagle Rock News-Herald                      (5/23/1930-19??)
Eagle Rock Press Advertiser                 (1/3/1946-19??)
Eagle Rock Reporter                             (1924 or 1925-8/28/1925)
Eagle Rock Reporter and Sentinel        (9/4/1925-5/16/1930)
Eagle Rock School News                      (5/22/1936-19??)
Eagle Rock Sentinel                              (3/9/1910-1995)
Eagle Rock Star                                     (19??-19??)
Eagle’s Scream                                      (April or May 1927-19??)
Eastside Journal                                    (3/21/1935-19??)
The ERGS                                              (?-?)
The Heavy Rock                                    (?-?)
Highland Park Herald                            (circa 1905-10/17/1924)
The Highland Park Herald and Journal (circa 1/1962-circa 6/1962)
Highland Park Journal                           (19??-circa 1956)
Highland Park News-Herald                  (10/24/1924-10/1/1956)
Highland Park News-Herald & Journal  (10/4/1956-19??)
Highland Park Post Dispatch                 (19??-19??)
Lincoln Heights Bulletin News                (1928-19??)
The Mount Washington Star-Review       (19??-19??)
Northeast Newspapers Vista magazine (19??-19??)
Northeast Sun                                         (19??-current?)
El Sereno Star                                         (19??-current?)
South Pasadena Journal                         (19??-199?)
The Summit Niche circa                          (3/1995-5/3/1997)
The Weekender                                       (19??-current?)

Suggest current or historic titles to include in our project

Part of this project is to seek out NELA community newspaper titles that are not in our collection for potential acquisition. Can you think of any current or historic titles that we might not know about? Talk to us! Please comment below or contact me at [dundon@oxy.edu]. (See our growing list of titles that we do not have here).

Titles we currently hold:
Belvedere Citizen
Boulevard Sentinel
The Campus Sleuth
Community Press
Eagle Rock Advertiser
Eagle Rock Independent
Eagle Rock News-Herlad
Eagle Rock Press Advertiser
Eagle Rock Reporter
Eagle Rock Reporter and Sentinel
Eagle Rock School News
Eagle Rock Sentinel
Eagle Rock Star
Eagle’s Scream
Eastside Journal
The Heavy Rock
Highland Park Herald
The Highland Park Herald and Journal
Highland Park Journal
Highland Park News-Herald
Highland Park News-Herald & Journal
Highland Park Post Dispatch
Lincoln Heights Bulletin News
The Mount Washington Star-Review
The News-Herald and Journal
Northeast Newspapers Vista magazine
Northeast Sun
El Sereno Star
South Pasadena Journal
The Summit Niche
The Weekender

Establishing a selection criteria

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)

Considering CONTENTdm

Thus far, today has been consumed with considering our various options for digital asset and metadata management. I created a list of pros and cons to using CONTENTdm, a digital collection management software produced by OCLC, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of our many possible points of access for digitized content (including Calisphere and WorldCat).

We have previously used CONTENTdm to push images and metadata to these access points, but for this project, we need to consider whether or not it is beneficial to use this system when we are already providing access to content via the California Digital Newspaper Collection (CDNC), which uses Veridian. I am hoping to get feedback from others who have used this system for digital newspapers to help us in our decision making.

Here is an image from Santa Monica Public Library’s Imagine Santa Monica, a series of digital collections managed and displayed in CONTENTdm.

Santa Monica Evening Outlook, July 27, 1921
Santa Monica Bay Printing Company. Santa Monica, Calif.: L.T. Fisher : D.G. Holt,1875-
Retrieved from the Santa Monica Public Library’s digital collections: Imagine Santa Monica

Who we are, what we do

Circulation map of Northeast Newspapers, circa 1980s.

Generously funded by The John Randolph and Dora Haynes Foundation, the Preservation and Digitization of Northeast Los Angeles Community Newspapers project (or, NELA Newspapers) is a pilot project to establish standards and procedures for a larger program to increase access to community newspapers of the area. It is a collaboration between Occidental College Special Collections and College Archives, the Eagle Rock Valley Historical Society, and the Highland Park Heritage Trust, with special contribution from the Center for Bibliographical Studies and Research at the University of California, Riverside.

Learn more about the grant and the project here.

Learn more about how the Occidental College Library documents Northeast Los Angeles regional history here.

We plan to use this site to discuss, share, and promote our work to preserve and digitize Northeast Los Angeles community newspapers. Check back with us to see what we’re up to!