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VIDEO: Behind the scenes of turning newspapers into digital archives

Kelowna Capital News donated materials dating from 1980 to 2000

An archivist at University of B.C. Okanagan said it will take about two years to go through and digitize approximately a million archival materials donated by Black Press Media publication the Kelowna Capital News.

While that may seem like a daunting task, for archivist Paige Hohmann that’s all part of the fun.

“When we’re looking at the photographic coverage of a town like Kelowna, we see the greatest breadth and the greatest depth coming from media outlets because they’re the first one on the scenes, grabbing images, writing the stories,” said Hohmann.

“So bringing in the Kelowna Capital News photographic archive is a really amazing resource to bring onboard for anybody who comes and uses the Okanagan Special Collections.”

Last year, while the newspaper was cleaning up an old warehouse, it decided to donate all of its photo negatives and contact sheets from the newspaper dating from 1980 to 2000.

Now Hohmann and her team will have to go through everything and cross-reference the pictures with the stories from the paper and nail down the specific date. From there, she will pick the best picture out of a strip of similar shots and digitize that particular photograph.

“Before we do the digitization, we would go through an item level description where every photograph would be assigned a control number and be moved to archival housing,” she said.

“As part of standard processing, these negatives in envelopes would be moved to acid-free housing.”


Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
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Twila Amato

About the Author: Twila Amato

Twila was a radio reporter based in northern Vancouver Island. She won the Jack Webster Student Journalism Award while at BCIT and received a degree in ancient and modern Greek history from McGill University.
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