Collegian archives digitized and moved online

Noah Cloonan

In 2015, the Ashland Collegian eliminated the print version of the newspaper and moved to a fully online publication. Now old editions of The Collegian are finding their way to the Internet.

The Ashland University archives office is currently uploading all of the issues of the newspaper, which dates back to September 1922, to the university archives website.

AU’s archivist David Roepke is heading up the project and is individually scanning each page of every newspaper and posting them to the archives website. In November of 2015, Roepke started this project by scanning the first issue of the Collegian from September 28, 1922.

Roepke uses a program called PastPerfect to organize and collect all of the articles once they are scanned. PastPerfect is used by museums to archive all of their articles and Roepke is using it to do the same thing just with newspaper articles instead.

He said it takes about 10-15 minutes per issue depending on the length of the issues. Since the Collegian was a weekly newspaper, there was normally about 30 issues per year.

Roepke noted that it was very interesting to see the progression of articles throughout the years. In the 1930s issues were about 4-6 pages in length. In the 1970s the length grew to upwards of 16 pages an issue.

All of these variables will factor into the time that it takes to post them online. “Its probably going to be a two year project to finish all of the Collegians,” said Roepke.

As of April 15, Roepke had uploaded volumes from the years 1922 to 1939 and has over 400 issues uploaded to the database. There are a few issues that are missing, but the majority of the issues will be available to be read in the near future.

“I’m hoping people take the time to read them,” said Roepke, “and realize that they had the same problems back then as we do today.”

Once completed, students, faculty, alumni, or anyone else who wishes to look back on the happenings at Ashland University will be able to do so in a very user-friendly fashion.

Looking back on the different issues it is interesting to see the type of stories that were written about what was happening in Ashland. Stories include a short piece about a girl who was injured after falling outside of her home. That story was published on the front page of the very first Collegian.

On April 17, 1931 the Collegian staff wrote a story about the Board of Trustees approving the plan to build a new chapel. And on October 24, 1952 a story was written about the fire that engulfed Founders Hall and destroyed it.

These stories and many more fascinating stories of Ashland’s past are being made available to all to read in a very accessible format as the Ashland Collegian moves away from print media and into the world of online newspapers for good.