UNITED COUNTIES of SD&G, Ontario – The United Counties Council heard a plan to digitally archive some newspapers throughout their region.
The project was pitched to council at their Jan. 21 meeting by former North Dundas Mayor Eric Duncan. Duncan was representing a partnership between the Dundas County Archives, the Lost Villages Museum and the Glengarry County Archives who are the organizers of this project.
The group hopes to create a searchable archive that would include some of the papers that serve the Counties including The Glengarry News, The Winchester Press, The Morrisburg Leader, The Chesterville Record, the Iroquois Chieftain, Morrisburg Banner, St. Lawrence News and the Seaway Breeze. Not included so far is Seaway News, which currently circulates to over 13,000 homes in the United Counties and has been in circulation for 33 years.
When asked why Seaway News was not included, he said that the participating organizations wanted to focus on papers based in SD&G as a starting point. Seaway News is based in Cornwall. Duncan said that he hoped in future, that the City of Cornwall would elect to back the project so that Seaway News could be included.
Duncan said that he believed that newspapers tell an important tale about the history of SD&G.
“There’s no bigger item than newspapers and history that tells the story of SDG,” he said. “Schools, hospitals, service clubs. There’s a ton of research and a ton of things that tells the story”
Duncan asked the United Counties Council to provide between $150,000 and $200,000 for the project and to put out a Request for Proposal (RFP) to help find a company able to do the digitization.
The cost is based on the estimated cost to digitize the pages. According to Duncan, he estimates that the cost to digitize is roughly a dollar per page and that his group already has around 200,000 pages.
Duncan said that his group will be looking for volunteers to help with a bulk of the prep work.
“Volunteers would be responsible to have everything ready in a professional archival format,” he said. “It needs to be done in a very succinct and organized way.”