January 11, 2022

We are pleased to announce that the Open ONI (Open Online Newspaper Initiative) project at University of Oregon Libraries and University of Nebraska−Lincoln Center for Digital Research in the Humanities has received an NEH (National Endowment for the Humanities) Preservation and Access Research and Development grant! Grant awards support humanities initiatives at college campuses, innovative digital resources, conservation, research, and infrastructure projects at cultural institutions. Open ONI is a community-maintained project to make historic American newspapers browsable and searchable on the web.

The changing preservation and maintenance landscape for digital newspapers necessitates an innovative, customizable, and lightweight technical solution to support local newspaper digitization and preservation programs. Spearheaded by the University of Oregon Libraries and assisted by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Center for Digital Research in the Humanities, this work will expand on the impact of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) by enhancing the existing software for better distribution and easier adoption by “Beyond-NDNP” managers and curators of digital and born-digital newspapers.

By refining and improving the Open ONI software, researchers will see these benefits: improved access to locally significant periodical publications alongside newspaper collections; metadata compatibility with Chronicling America publications, which will support large-scale data analysis and manipulation across repositories; and a greater diversity of digitized and born-digital publications made available more broadly across the NDNP ecosystem. By increasing access to millions of pages, it will fill gaps between “Beyond NDNP” collections and Chronicling America, providing more opportunities for computational analysis.

Moreover, Open ONI’s commitment to open source software encourages other programs to adopt better practices for newspaper portals, which in turn will unlock more collections for analysis. This project addresses the gaps in the currently available systems by creating an open source alternative to vendor systems or other shared digital collections repositories, and it will continue to expand the Open ONI community to better serve institutions that want an easily deployable and maintainable website for their digital newspaper collections.

National Endowment for the Humanities: Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at https://www.neh.gov.

Extracted from archived UO announcement page.