When Mary and I bought the West Winfield Star from Bill Kwasniewski in July 2015, we acquired the old Stars dating back to 1897.
Bill had them over his garage, we put them in our attic. Many of them, particularly the older ones, are so fragile you can hardly turn the page without tearing it.
Needless to say, they are not accessible to the public. Precious historical documents that nobody can read!
When we sold the Star to Patty Louise at the Waterville Times, we did not pass these old Stars on to her. The sale included an agreement that we would attempt to preserve them digitally.
Image Integrator in Syracuse photographs old documents, including newspapers. The output is a microfilm and a pdf version that is OCR capable. (OCR = Optical Character Recognition, meaning the quality is high enough to enable word searches).
Five months ago, I delivered four years of the Star to Image Integrator: 1897, 1947, 1965 and 1972. About three weeks later, they had all four years digitized. Which means I had 208 editions of the West Winfield Star preserved; never to succumb to the elements.
How wonderful is that!
One little snag. Digitizing is not free. The cost of preserving these first four years ranged from $360 to $175 per year.
Do the math, preserving over 100 years of the Star will cost approximately $20,000.