Open Online Newspaper Initiative (Open ONI) is a community-maintained project to make historic American newspapers browsable and searchable on the web. We aim to enable individual state and library-based newspaper collections to more easily provide these core capabilities, as well as develop new common features and improvements.

There are a number of sites using Open ONI in production. Links to these websites and their source code are available on Sites Using Open ONI on our wiki. If you are using Open ONI to power your site, please let us know and we will add you to the list!

The Open ONI community is a small group of developers from NDNP awardee institutions. We support Open ONI to power state-specific sites showcasing newspaper content, some of which was digitized through the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) newspaper content, and some non-NDNP content which is not available elsewhere online. In the future, we hope to expand our community and we welcome involvement from more groups, regardless of NDNP awardee status.

History of Open ONI

Open ONI was forked from chronam, the Django web application the Library of Congress originally used to make Chronicling America. Chronicling America makes millions of pages of historic American newspapers that have been digitized by the NDNP available on the web.

      2007-2009: Library of Congress develops "chronam" software
      2011: Library of Congresses releases "chronam" on SourceForge and presents at code4lib
      2015: Open ONI created, community meets to plan features
      2017: Pre-release of Open ONI launched; v.0.6.0 contains better support for IIIF and Universal Viewer
      2020: Official release of version 1.0

Chronicling America and Open ONI

NDNP is a partnership between the Library of Congress, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and cultural heritage organizations (awardees) across the United States who have applied for grants to help digitize newspapers in their state. Awardees digitize newspaper microfilm according to a set of specifications and then ship the data back to the Library of Congress where it is loaded into Chronicling America.

Awardee institutions are able to use this public domain data however they want, including creating their own websites that highlight their newspaper content in the local context of their own collections. The idea of making Open ONI available here on GitHub is to provide a technical option to these awardees and other interested parties who want to make their own websites of NDNP newspaper content available. Open ONI provides a core set of functionality for loading, modeling and indexing NDNP data, while allowing developers to customize the look and feel of the website to suit the needs of any organization.

Presentations & Publications