Newspaper digitization at the University of Illinois began in 2005, in the History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library.
The idea to begin a newspaper digitization program at the University of Illinois Library originated in 2004, while Professor Mary Stuart was developing a plan to merge the History & Philosophy Library with the Newspaper Library, to form a single unit: the History, Philosophy, & Newspaper Library (HPNL). As part of the proposed merger, the Illinois Newspaper Project (INP) would be brought under the umbrella of the new unit, with Stuart becoming the project’s Principal Investigator. While developing the proposal for the new unit, Stuart imagined that newspaper digitization would be a logical outgrowth of the INP. To lay the groundwork for this future program, Stuart created the position of Research Information Specialist for the new unit. One of the responsibilities of the Research Information Specialist would be to provide technical support for the unit’s newspaper digitization program.