More than 100 years of The Daily to be available through updated digital archive

Fathma Rahman, Development and Recruitment Editor

A donation by former Northwestern Alumni Association president Dan Jones (Kellogg ‘61) allowed the Students Publishing Company and Northwestern University Archives to digitize The Daily’s archives through August 2016, completing its digitalization dating back to 1871.

University archivist Kevin Leonard said digitization provides a way to look at material remotely without having to search through physical copies. It also utilizes software that can search for a word, name or phrase and retrieve results immediately.

“(The Daily) is the most comprehensive and complete source of information about Northwestern and the Northwestern community since, essentially, the beginning of the institution,” Leonard said.

Jones got involved with The Daily’s digitization after hearing that alumni sometimes go back and look at papers from their time at NU. His company, NewsBank, is a major digitizer and distributer of digitized historic newspapers.

“Northwestern has become my community, and I am a strong believer in giving back to one’s community,” Jones said.

Jones decided last month, in light of The Daily’s 135th anniversary, to digitize the last 15 years of the paper. Jones said he hopes to do more in the future in order to provide a more unified archive of The Daily.

Before it was digitized, people had a difficult time searching The Daily’s records “in any convenient fashion,” Leonard said.

“If you needed to look something up in The Daily, and you didn’t know if or when the story was covered, you’d have to come in and page through all the texts, which is the most inefficient use of your time,” Leonard said. “Now, in effect, anyone interested in using this tremendous resource can very readily find the information they need.”

John Byrne, former Daily editor in chief and Student Publishing board of directors member, said The Daily could not have completed this project without Jones and his company’s help.

The digital collection not only provides another resource for people to research what has happened in past years, but it is a tribute to Jones’ generosity and commitment to the University, Byrne said.

“It’s a tremendous blessing to have this, and it has made The Daily … a historical resource now because people have such convenient access to its riches, its content,” Leonard said. “Digitization of (The Daily) has been the best thing that’s ever happened to this department.”

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Twitter: @fathmarahman