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UofL Libraries asks public to help preserve important African American newspaper

by Janene Zaccone, communications and marketing last modified Feb 12, 2013 12:21 PM

University of Louisville Libraries needs the public’s help to make “The Louisville Leader,” a sought-after historical source, more accessible to people who want to study Louisville’s black history.

UofL Libraries asks public to help preserve important African American newspaper

A portion of a screenshot of the transcription page. Top: Original text. Bottom: Typed transcript.

Between 1917 and 1950 the newspaper covered the African American community’s news as well as religious, educational, social, fraternal and sporting activities.

Several years ago, UofL microfilmed copies of issues that survived a 1954 fire to the building where the paper was published. Efforts to digitize the microfilm for Internet use, however, have not resulted in the fully searchable collection that Archives and Special Collections hoped that it would.

“Optical readers are unable to accurately identify faded characters or misaligned type such as exist in these microfilmed images,” said University Archivist Carrie Daniels. The quality of the digital images was not good enough for the optical character recognition software to generate keywords for searching.

ASC needs people to transcribe the digitized microfilm images so they can be searched online. People who want to help can go to the project page at uofl.me/lib-LouisvilleLeader, read the instructions, choose an article to transcribe and start typing.

“The paper is one resource that people have wanted to access online,” Daniels said. “Now we’re finally doing it and they can help us.”

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