We’ve recently had a paper accepted to Archival Science journal, on work which has emerged from the Oceanic Exchanges project, which has been looking into reuse of mass digitised newspapers archives, as part of our Digging Into Data funded activities. The question is: how has the selection of historical newspapers for digitisation affected the type of text mining based research we can undertake – and how are institutions making decisions about what should be digitised? I’ve provided a link to the author’s accepted text, which we can share under the licensing for this journal:
Tessa Hauswedell, Julianne Nyhan, Melodee Beals, Melissa Terras, and Emily Bell (Forthcoming 2020). Of global reach yet of situated contexts: an examination of the implicit and explicit selection criteria that shape digital archives of historical newspapers. Accepted: Archival Science.
A large literature addresses the processes, circumstances and motivations that have given rise to archives. These questions are increasingly being asked of digital archives, too. Here, we examine the complex interplay of institutional, intellectual, economic, technical, practical and social factors that have shaped decisions about the inclusion and exclusion of digitised newspapers in and from online archives. We do so by undertaking and analysing a series of semi-structured interviews conducted with public and private providers of major newspaper digitisation programmes. Our findings contribute to emerging understandings of factors that are rarely foregrounded or highlighted yet fundamentally shape the depth and scope of digital cultural heritage archives and thus the questions that can be asked of them, now and in the future. Moreover, we draw attention to providers’ emphasis on meeting the needs of their end-users and how this is shaping the form and function of digital archives. The end user is not often emphasised in the wider literature on archival studies and we thus draw attention to the potential merit of this vector in future studies of digital archives.
Keywords: digitization; newspaper; selection rationale; cultural heritage; critical heritage