Times digital archive available May 31
Researchers and readers who enjoy old issues of The Pocahontas Times will no longer have to scroll through yellowed microfilm reels to read the old papers. On May 31, a digital archive will open to the public at McClintic Library.
The archive will be accessed at a computer console with easy-to-follow instructions. The archive includes issues of the newspaper from 1885 to 2003 and incorporates an automated search feature.
Pocahontas County historic preservation officer B.J. Gudmundsson and Agust Gudmundsson conducted a training session on May 23 for library and newspaper staff. Within minutes, the staff members were searching a variety of topics. Library worker Pam Johnson did a quick search and was surprised to learn that her grandfather had been accused of stealing chickens.
Researchers will be able to complete searches much faster than they could by loading and scrolling through microfilm reels. A search of the entire 118-year archive for a search term took approximately 50 seconds. Search results appear on a side panel of the computer screen and can be sorted by date. When a result is selected, the appropriate newspaper page is displayed with the paragraph in which the search term appears highlighted in a blue box.
The library paid $6,300 to have the firm Creekside Digital, of Glen Arm, Maryland, digitize the microfilm collection. The services included scanning, de-skewing, indexing and clarifying the images of the newspaper pages. Attendees at Monday's class remarked that the digital version is much easier to read than the microfilm version.
The Pocahontas County Commission provided funding for the historic preservation project. The Pocahontas County Historical Society, Historic Records Preservation Group and Geneaology Group provided assistance with the project.
Use of the archive will be free. Users who wish to reserve a specific time can make reservations in advance. Printing from the archive will cost 15 cents per page. For more information, call McClintic Library at 304-799-4165.