Newspaper Digitization

The Digital Heritage Center has a variety of services related to digitizing and hosting North Carolina newspapers online. Current and potential partners can make a request by contacting us at any time to see which service will best fit their needs. Some services are offered at no cost to our partners and have limited capacity. Others are for-fee services that allow us to increase capacity for any given title.

For all of the services listed below, the ongoing cost of hosting the newspapers on DigitalNC.org (which includes hardware, software, storage, web design, and ongoing site care and maintenance) is covered by the State Library of North Carolina and the UNC-Chapel Hill University Libraries.

We accept requests from organizations that are eligible to work with us. If you have questions please contact us.

No Cost to Partners

  Cost to Partner Per Single Page Image Timing Maximum Number of Pages Where Scanned Where Do We Get the Papers We Scan?
Newspapers in Print None Requests accepted on an ongoing basis City/town papers: 500 page limit per batch; for other types of papers maximum is decided based on our capacity and the uniqueness of the paper’s content In house Borrowed from the partner organization that requests the scanning
Microfilmed Newspapers None Titles are chosen via nomination process once annually, typically in late summer (announced via social media) Around 5000-8000 pages per nomination Vendor Either borrowed from the collections at UNC-Chapel Hill Libraries or from the partner organization that requests the scanning

For-Fee Services

  Cost to Partner Per Single Page Image Timing Maximum Number of Pages Where Scanned Where Do We Get the Papers We Scan?
Newspapers in Print $0.99 Requests accepted on an ongoing basis No maximum Vendor Borrowed from the partner organization that requests the scanning
Microfilmed Newspapers $0.25* Requests accepted on an ongoing basis No maximum Vendor Either borrowed from the collections at UNC-Chapel Hill Libraries or from the partner organization that requests the scanning

* Though the number of pages on each reel can vary widely, we recommend an estimate of 1000-1200 pages per full microfilm reel.

Organizations Supporting Newspaper Digitization with the Digital Heritage Center

Our Partners

Our partners have collected, housed, and preserved these newspapers over the years. They provide microfilm reels and print newspapers for digitization, driving them to Chapel Hill or paying for them to be shipped to us.  Several partners have also provided funding for newspaper digitization of certain titles when they wish to have more work completed than we are able to do at no cost to them. Those funds come from their own budgets, local friends groups, and/or donors.

State Library of North Carolina

A large portion of the funding that supports the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center comes from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and is provided thanks to the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). These funds are disbursed by the State Library of North Carolina. By supporting the Digital Heritage Center, the State Library leverages a centralized location to be able to do more work with newspapers than might otherwise be possible. 

Elizabeth City State University

Elizabeth City State University is home to our first satellite scanning location. Staff at the Library scan and describe print newspapers for partners.

State Archives of North Carolina

The State Archives of North Carolina has a long history of preserving the state’s newspapers and imaging them in film and digital formats. In 2019, we worked with the State Archives to add 5,435 issues of North Carolina’s earliest newspapers to DigitalNC.  In addition, the majority of newspapers digitized from microfilm on DigitalNC have been captured from film created throughout the years by staff at the State Archives of North Carolina. 

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

From 2012-2020, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries was the state’s awardee for the Library of Congress’ National Digital Newspaper Program. The issues that were digitized for that program have been added to DigitalNC. In 2021-2022, we added over 2 million additional newspaper images that had previously been created in a partnership between UNC-Chapel Hill Libraries and Newspapers.com. UNC-Chapel Hill Libraries allows us to borrow microfilm reels from their collection on a regular basis to send away for digitization on our partners’ behalf.  Finally, staff at UNC-Chapel Hill Libraries support the hardware and software that provides access to newspapers, including ongoing maintenance and regular improvements.

North Caroliniana Society

In 2020-2022, the North Caroliniana Society provided funding for thousands of additional newspaper images to be added to DigitalNC. This funding supported vendor digitization of microfilm as well as staff to work on adding digitized newspapers to DigitalNC.