Why is the Info-Presse on the move? – Nebraska City News Press
On Saturday, April 23 and Sunday, April 24, the Nebraska City News-Press used its Facebook account to communicate with readers about the newspaper’s impending move from 823 Central Ave. at 901 S.9and Street.
One of the motivations for the move is the need to downsize. The office at 823 Central Ave. was previously used by our human resources department, mailing team, billing team and graphic design team.
This work is now done remotely.
That leaves just over a handful of people on the site, with those people being writers and vendors.
It makes sense for the log to move its location to another without as much floor space.
To fit in a smaller space, however, cuts had to be made.
With News-Press’ accounting department moving and many accounting processes going paperless, one of our main tasks was to properly dispose of all sensitive invoices and other documents by shredding.
With great help from members of the Nebraska City High School football team, this process is underway.
Another problem was how to deal with the bound volumes of the News-Press.
For years, the archives of the Actualité-Presse existed in two ways. The library housed the newspaper on microfilm and the News-Press had its bound volumes. This was problematic on two counts.
First, bound volumes and microfilms can be lost and damaged. The Shenandoah Valley News experienced a fire that wiped out its historic volumes. The Hamburg Reporter lost most of its volumes due to flooding. And all volumes are subject to aging and damage to the paper that will eventually render them useless.
Second, bound volumes and microfilm as unique sources are not publicly available in many cases and, moreover, are not easily searchable.
If Google has taught us anything, it’s that metadata, the data that makes knowledge searchable, is at least as valuable, if not more so, than actual data. A source of information that cannot be accessed or searched appropriately is much less valuable than one that can be searched.
The digital process of microfilm has allowed the preservation of our catalog. As libraries and paper offices burn, are flooded, and destroyed by other natural events, the servers containing these archival materials may be backed up in multiple locations, making their loss much more difficult.
The source material is freely available to the public. And one search, which produces articles, can be the start of several metadata searches that lead to more and more discoveries in the richness of history contained in an archive.
With the above archives established, News-Press has decided to follow the lead of many newspapers across the country and eliminate bound volumes in favor of digital archives.
Direct elimination of editions was not the first consideration.
Local organizations were contacted to take the bound volumes, but due to the size of the collection, these organizations had to decline our invitation to host the volumes, citing a lack of space and a lack of capacity to give the volumes the good house, one that is air-conditioned and protected by a fire extinguishing system.
On Saturday, April 23, the volumes were placed in a wheeled receptacle. The passion of history buffs and loyal readers of our publication was apparent and appreciated as many descended to claim the volumes.
It is good to know that the history of paper as expressed through these volumes has a new home.
But to be clear, the idea that backing up these volumes represents backing up history, just isn’t correct. Volumes will not be available to all drives in one place. The volumes will probably not be maintained in a way common to the preservation of history. And the volumes will still be subject to degradation by the passage of time and destruction by natural or accidental events.
If the News-Press could give the volumes to a museum or a library, access to the volumes could very well have been restricted. The volumes would likely have been in a place that was both air-conditioned and carefully guarded to limit damage and slow the aging process. The volumes could have been hosted in different places, as that was one of the possibilities explored by the document during this process, thereby limiting access in other ways.
Even a prize at a museum or library would have provided no guarantee of permanent placement. The News-Press has in the past loaned part of its collection to a historical preservation company which then returned the books to the newspaper in worse condition than the condition that existed before the loan.
Questions of preservation at any given time were left to bound volumes and microfilm. We are happy that this is no longer the case. We are happy that readers now have free access. We celebrate this history and our readers’ ability to ask the archive questions and find answers.
Please visit the Morton-James Library for more information. For questions not answered by Morton-James staff, please email us at [email protected]
By the way, and as an example of archival practices, Harper’s Weekly, a publication famous for its extensive coverage of american civil warincluding numerous illustrations of events of the war, is not preserved in the form of bound volumes in a museum or library.
Find Harper’s Weekly online at Harper’s Weekly 1857-1976: Free Texts: Free to Download, Borrow, and Stream: Internet Archive
The bound volumes of Harper’s Weekly are available for public purchase on sites such as Amazon.com, eBay and other bookstores.