19 September 2009

Ohio: Cleveland Jewish News digital archive

Genealogists with a connection to Cleveland, Ohio, will find 2010 a very good year.

The Cleveland Jewish News will launch a digital archive of 45 years of publications, expected to be online in 2010, according to publisher and editor Michael E. Bennett.

I'll be looking for my TALALAY and TAYLOR connections!

Family historians and genealogists will be able to learn about their families who lived in Cleveland; access lifecycle birth, wedding, anniversary, bnai mitzvah, and obituaries; and the community's history and reactions to world events; as well as what's happening in contemporary Cleveland.

Past issues are currently available for public access only in oversize bound volumes; only parts of CJN publications for the past eight years are online. The CJN Foundation, headed by Barry R. Chesler, contracted with Olive Software to convert more than 200,000 pages on microfilm or in electronic PDF files into XML files. This method enables data to be used in a number of digital formats, including a searchable database.

"This is an exciting stage in the newspaper’s history,” says Barry R. Chesler, president of the CJN Foundation. “Imagine being able to have at your fingertips, no matter where you are, information about family simchahs, news events and anything else that’s been important to you or the community for half a century.”
Chesler is grateful the community responded so generously to the request for support, and says that they understood the important of preserving the past and making it accessible online.

According to Olive Software, the CJN archive is a great example of how a community paper coupled with state-of-the-art digitization techniques can make historical preservation and worldwide access to formerly offline content possible.

Funding was provided by the Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland’s Endowment Fund, the CJN and other sources. This current funding will cover the cost of creating and hosting the archive for two years. Additional long-term funding is sought from advertisers, sponsors and community members.

For more information, click on the link above.

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