When a Patch Won't Do!


Attempting to digitize a year of the Egyptian Gazette newspaper proves difficult as students find their individual difficulties in attempting the task.

The year to be digitized is 1905, and each student has been given a week to digitize and examine the newspaper’s contents as the task is completed. Getting the pages from the microfilm to a more reader friendly medium is a task for a patient soul!

One problem encountered is a large hole that the original print newspaper had just before it was scanned. Information lost at this stage is detrimental as there are only two copies of microfilm in the country (both copies are most likely identical copies) and a trip to London to see the original remaining Egyptian Gazette copies was, unfortunately, declined by our instructor!

An important lesson has been learned in preserving past information when possible. Microhistorical details can be lost, when in some rare instances, one bit of information is all it takes to piece together a puzzle that has plagued historians since the time the articles have been written.

The result is simply accepting our realities and a great lesson towards preservation.

For further study:

Best Way to Preserve Your Newspaper: http://www.mnhs.org/preserve/conservation/reports/nytimes_preserving.pdf

Getting Started with Microfilm: http://www.archives.state.al.us/officials/microfilmbasics02.html

A Word About Microhistory: http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/23720

Erek Cyr
Erek Cyr

The author, a student at Florida State University, was enrolled in the digital microhistory lab in fall 2016.