Our primary goal will be to digitize our collections and make them available to researchers. We have 131 years of local newspapers, beginning in the 1880s, that are not available anywhere else. They are getting raggedy from all the handling and we would like to get them scanned before they deteriorate any further. Scanning the newspapers would cost around $50,000 so we are considering scanning the microfilm and only scanning the bound newspapers if we don't have a copy on microfilm. Scanning the newspapers would require cutting them out of the bindings and we only want to do that if it's absolutely necessary.
We also have over 100 rolls of microfilm that we use as an alternative to touching the bound newspapers. We use it to find articles and then if we need to view a picture, we go to the actual newspapers. (The microfilm was scanned to preserve the text and not the pictures so they are unclear.) This machine is so ancient we can't find anyone to repair it, if it would become necessary. There is a new system that connects to a computer and monitor which costs about $9,000. This would also allows us to search our scanned newspapers and share them online.
Which brings me to our website. We have a beautiful website, designed and built by Kathy Stauffer, but it doesn't allow us to add this much data or connect to a database. A new website would be necessary. Depending on the host, it could cost $200 annually.
(Who is Kris Gis Gilbert? I am the current president of the Ogle County Historical Society. I have lived in Ogle County for almost 60 years and I work at the historic Ogle County Courthouse. If you have any questions about this fundraiser, contact a board member of the Ogle County Historical Society. You can find their names on our website: http://www.oglecountyhistoricalsociety.com/
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