Grant helps UF digitize Caribbean newspapers

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB)-- The University of Florida will have the opportunity to digitize Caribbean newspapers that date back to 1784 through 1922.

UF Smathers Libraries received a $434,000 grant from The Council On Library and Information Resources Digitizing Hidden Collections and Archives Project.

The UF grant is titled "Film On A Boat: Digitizing At Risk Caribbean Newspapers" and is a partnership between UF and the University of Puerto Rico and the Digital Library of the Caribbean.

During the next three years, the library will digitize 800,000 newspaper pages from 79 different historic newspapers and periodicals.

“UF really is a global university with a strong focus on the Caribbean and historic ties and so this is a chance to give back to hopefully those Caribbean communities whether their researchers, scholars, students, or folks that just want to go back and read the news from the 19th century,” Head Of Conservation and Preservation Fletcher Durant said.

26 of the newspapers will come from UF microfilm representing 7 different Caribbean islands and nations that were former British colonies (Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Guyana, St. Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago).

53 newspapers will be Spanish language papers from Puerto Rico. Each paper has a different run—with some being only a couple of years, while others cover decades of news.

Their goal is to have the microfilm reformatted into a digital version that can be searched on the internet. It will be available through UF’s digital collection.