About

What We Do

The Illinois Newspaper Project (INP) is an initiative of the History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library (HPNL), and the Department of Preservation Services at the University of Illinois Library.

By the Numbers

1814 was the year the first newspaper was published in the Illinois Territory

We inventoried 8,016 newspaper titles

We microfilmed 2.2 million pages of newsprint

We have digitized 1.5 million pages of newsprint

Newspaper digitization costs one dollar per page

1.1 million lines of text corrected by volunteers

Illinois Newspaper Project Timeline

April 1987
The Illinois State Historical Library (ISHL) received a planning grant from National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to develop a survey to assess the state’s newspaper collections. The ISHL staff sent more than 4,000 surveys to libraries, newspaper publishers, historical societies, genealogical organizations, library systems, county clerks, and some individuals and booksellers.

April 1989
With the planning phase completed, the INP team received another grant from NEH, administered by the Library of Congress as part of the U.S. Newspaper Program (USNP), to undertake the cataloging and inventorying work. For the purposes of the project, the state was divided into seven cataloging regions. The INP began inventorying and cataloging the newspaper collections at the ISHL in Springfield, Illinois, and at the Chicago Historical Society (CHS) in Chicago. The work on the collection at ISHL was completed in June 1995. Over the course of these six years, INP staff inventoried and cataloged 6,232 newspaper titles and added 11,791 holdings records to the newspaper union list in OCLC. Staff at the CHS completed work on their collection in 1995, and continued inventorying and cataloging other collections in INP Region 7 during this period.

June 1995
The INP relocated its office to the University of Illinois Library in Urbana, Illinois.

January 1996
The University of Illinois-based staff began inventorying and cataloging the newspaper collections at the University of Illinois Library. Over the next three years, INP staff inventoried and cataloged 1,963 U.S. newspaper titles and added 2,287 holdings records to the newspaper union list in OCLC. INP staff identified 73 unique Illinois newspapers in the University of Illinois Library collections for future preservation microfilming.

July 1999-March 2000
The INP staff at Illinois began the fieldwork phase, beginning with McLean County. Inventorying and cataloging of all collections at Illinois State University and the McLean County Historical Society was completed in April 2000. A total of 699 titles were cataloged, and holdings records for 759 newspaper titles were added to OCLC. Additionally, 75 unique titles were added to the list of candidates for future microfilming.

April 2000-2001
A streamlined inventory strategy was developed by INP staff at the University of Illinois. Fieldwork was completed in INP Cataloging Region 2. After completing work in Region 7, the CHS team took responsibility for inventorying and cataloging Region 6.

2002-October 2007
INP staff at University of Illinois performed all inventorying and cataloging in Regions 1 and 5, and completed most of the inventorying and cataloging of newspapers in Region 4. INP staff also began preservation microfilming of unique Illinois newspapers from the University of Illinois Library collections and other institutions in the state. The Chicago Historical Society team (now the Chicago History Museum) completed fieldwork in Region 7.

October 2007-June 2009
The INP completed inventorying and cataloging the final regions. To date, INP staff have inventoried and cataloged 20,916 newspaper titles and added 26,429 holdings records to the newspaper union list in OCLC. To access information of all titles inventoried and cataloged, please see the Illinois Newspaper Directory (formerly called the Illinois Newspaper Project Database).

The INP also completed preservation microfilming of unique Illinois newspaper titles from the University of Illinois Library. In order to complete our efforts to preserve the state’s newspaper heritage, the team borrowed newspapers from many other repositories in Illinois to microfilm.

July 2009-August 2015
The INP team was awarded the first of multiple grants from the NEH, administered by the Library of Congress as part of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), to begin digitizing Illinois newspapers. For more information on this phase of our project, please visit the page on our Digitization work.

September 2016-Present
The INP continues to work on identifying and digitizing Illinois newspapers, and continues helping researchers who want to use Illinois newspapers. In 2016, we received a grant from the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) to digitize newspapers published by and for immigrant communities in Chicago (including the world’s oldest continuously-published newspaper in Lithuanian). In 2018, we received an additional NDNP grant to digitize Illinois newspapers representing diverse communities and causes.

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