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SmallTownPapers, Inc.

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Maryland Company Surpasses Milestone Creating the First Digital Images of Unique American Historical Newspapers

Maryland company scans more than two million pages of unique, historical newspapers which have never before been digitally accessible. Project's second phase two will be 20 million pages scanned then made online accessible for the first time.

Baltimore, MD, February 15, 2007 --( Frederick, Maryland-based Crowley Micrographics, Inc., recognized for its high-quality, digital book and newspaper scanning services, has completed the digitization of more than two million pages of historical newspapers from small towns across the country. Seattle-based SmallTownPapers, Inc. selected Crowley for this project which makes millions of small-town newspaper pages online-accessible and searchable for the first time.

Before the launch of this project, most of the weekly newspapers, dating back as far as the 1800s, had been inaccessible to the more than 35 million Americans who, according to Pew Internet and American Life Project, research their family and community history online each year.

“Not only can I now view and search small town newspapers but the images are perfectly clear and the pages are presented just as the newspaper was printed which enhances my ability to research and document family history,” said Adam Deason, a Murray, Utah native and family historian with roots in a small town in the southern US.

Unlike America’s larger daily newspapers, weekly papers from small towns rarely could afford to microfilm their editions. Today, while most newspaper archives can be accessed online or through local libraries, thousands of small-town newspapers have their archives confined to a single, delicate issue kept in a bound volume in the newspaper office. Searching for information is complicated and time-consuming. Working with Crowley Micrographics, SmallTownPapers provides publishers with a safe and high-quality option for preserving and making the papers online accessible.

“We frequently have customers come into our office searching old papers for genealogy-related information, historical research and obituaries, and then wanting to make photocopies from these large bound volumes of books; however, our books are becoming faded and fragile due to everyday wear and age and are not suitable for copying,” said Cara Young from Charles Town, West Virginia’s Spirit of Jefferson Farmer’s Advocate newspaper which has archives going back to the early 1900s. “I found that after having the newspapers scanned, especially the older ones, the quality of the images is clear and easy to read, and customers can now visit the website, find what they’re looking for and print out the information in their own home without having to handle the aging books.”

Young, like many publishers, is pleased to discover that the bound books were carefully handled and safely returned to her after the scanning process was complete. That is largely why Crowley was selected for this project – it is a recognized leader in the field of bound book and large format scanning. Now past the two million mark, Crowley embarks on the next phase of this newspaper project. SmallTownPapers has an archive of more than 20 million newspaper pages with that number expected to significantly increase.

“This project would not be where it is today without Crowley,” said SmallTownPapers president Paul Jeffko. “They have earned the respect of our publishers who feel confident sending their one-of-a-kind materials to Crowley. That confidence is translating into tremendous growth for SmallTownPapers.

“We expect our success with the first two million pages to spur growth beyond our initial expectations to as many as 40 million pages in the next few years,” Jeffko added.

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SmallTownPapers, Inc.
Karen Tarica

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