Digging into New Jersey news archives will soon be easier thanks to a project that will digitize the state's old newspapers.
The New Jersey Digital Newspaper Project – a joint effort by Rutgers University Libraries, the New Jersey State Archives and the New Jersey State Library – received a $186,204 grant this month to join a national newspaper-digitization program.
The project will scan microfilm to create searchable digital files that the public will be able to access through the Library of Congress' "Chronicling America" website.
New Jersey is the 44th state to participate in the site.
Over two years, the effort aims to digitize at least 100,000 New Jersey newspaper pages from 1836 to 1922.
An advisory board is slated to meet next month to identify the newspapers in greatest need of digitization, officials said.
Organizers hope to have the first batch of papers – about 25,000 pages – online by October 2017.
"Prior to this digitization project, historians would travel to the New Jersey State Archives in Trenton or to a similar research institution and scroll through microfilm to find what they need," Ron Becker, head of special collections and university archives at Rutgers University Libraries, said in a statement. "Having this material at their fingertips in a searchable, digital format will be tremendously beneficial to those who study and write about the history of New Jersey."