Grenada Heritage: save our archives

Who can save our archives? Turning to the private sector for digitization.

We found this article in The Chicago Sun Times:

The Sun-Times Preserves Its Photo Archive by Selling It

It’s worth a read. The title isn’t misleading, but clearly there’s more to the story. The paper’s Archive was sold off to a private individual, John Rogers, who is digitizing the entire collection. When finished:

The Sun-Times retains “all the intellectual property, all the copyrights,” Barron said. What’s more, Rogers is obliged to re-create the “entire library in digital searchable form,” and make it accessible to the Sun-Times. This means Rogers is doing for the Sun-Times something it couldn’t afford to do for itself but dearly wanted to. “If we could have pulled it off,” said Barron, “it would have taken years and years and years and millions of dollars.” So the deal was a “dream come true.” And far from surrendering its photo archive, he says, once it’s digitized the Sun-Times will be able to exploit it to tap a growing “aftermarket” for copies of old news photos.

The items that are appearing on eBay are duplicates, Rogers clarified. Or “things I don’t want”, he also said, which I found a little too vague. Still it’s hard to argue with what this man is doing to preserve a unique collection. That is, assuming he’s doing it right, as opposed to the sloppy way Google is digitizing books.

(Make sure to read the updates at the end of the article, with further information. They clarified the information about the library who was “keeping their photos in the basement”, making it sound like they were in old fruit boxes next to the washer, as opposed to being carefully stored in an archive.)

For the current status check-out our page at Grenada’s Endangered Archives.

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