Whitney Hale


College: Libraries

UK Participation in Chronicling America, National History Day Helps Dunbar High School Student Win Award

Published: Jul 23, 2013



A description of Chronicling America by Kopana Terry of UK Libraries<iframe width="560" height="315"

"What is Chronicling America?" created by UK Libraries’ NDNP Program Manager Kopana Terry. A transcript of this video can be found here.


LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 23, 2013) — Beginning in 2005, University of Kentucky Libraries was one of a select group of six libraries across the U.S. chosen to receive funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to digitize historic state newspapers to make them available worldwide through Chronicling America and the National Digital Newspaper Program. Today newspaper materials provided online by the innovative project not only assist everyone from scholars to genealogists in their research, it was even the foundation for research by a local high school student who won one of two inaugural Chronicling America awards presented as part of National History Day.


National History Day is a year-long academic program focused on historical research for students in grades six through 12. The program culminates with the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest. Presented with support of the NEH, the Behring National History Day Contest attracts more than 600,000 students from all 50 states, U.S. territories and diplomatic schools in Europe and Asia. Using their research, students compete for prizes in 24 categories by creating documentaries, exhibits, public performances, papers or websites.


For the first time, this year the NEH presented the "Chronicling America: Historic Newspaper Prize" to one junior (grades sixth through eighth) and one senior (grades ninth through 12th) student who effectively used Chronicling America as a primary resource in their project.


Chronicling America is a free online database providing access to more than five million historic U.S. newspaper pages dating from 1836 to 1922. The database is made possible by the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), a partnership between the NEH, the Library of Congress, and state contributors. As part of the partnership, UK Libraries has contributed nearly 400,000 newspaper pages representing 81 titles from across the Commonwealth through the Kentucky Edition.


In addition to their material support to Chronicling America, UK Libraries’ NDNP Program Manager, Kopana Terry, produced two informational videos about the program for the National History Day contest. Available on the NEH educational website EDSITEment, the films were pivotal in teaching students how to find and use the abundant resources available through Chronicling America.


"How to save and download content from Chronicling America" created by UK Libraries’ NDNP Program Manager Kopana Terry. A transcript of this video can be found here

The first "Chronicling America: Historic Newspaper Prize" was awarded to Joanna Slusarewicz from Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Lexington. The ninth grade NEH Scholar won the individual documentary category in the senior division with her film, "It’s a Jungle Out There: Upton Sinclair Turns the Tables on the Chicago Meatpackers and the Food Industry." The winning documentary vividly executed the 2013's contest's theme: "Turning Points in History: People, Ideas, Events." In addition to images of resources from Chronicling America, it also featured interviews with scholars like Professor Ron Formisano and Professor Mark Summers from the UK Department of History. Joanna, who was sponsored by local educators Theresa Buczek and Michelle Cason of Winburn Middle School, received a $1,000 cash prize and medal in recognition of her documentary.


"It’s a Jungle Out There: Upton Sinclair Turns the Tables on the Chicago Meatpackers and the Food Industry" by Joanna Slusarewicz. A transcript of Joanna's video can be found here.


Joanna first discovered Chronicling America when working on her 2012 entry in the National History Day individual documentary category, which took third place. When choosing her 2013 topic, she decided to tap the resource.


"I chose my topic, 'The Jungle,' by Upton Sinclair, and decided to try using Chronicling America, and I found it incredibly helpful," said the award winner. "In the beginning, I focused on online research, trying to find newspapers with Chronicling America."


Joanna's research experience with Chronicling America was quite good. "I thought that it was very well laid out, and it was intuitive and easy to use."


Already planning a new project, Joanna plans to participate in the 2014 National History Day Contest. Going into her sophomore year of high school, the scholar isn't sure yet what university she will attend.


Since 2005, staff at UK Libraries has made historic state newspapers available through research into conservation practices and development of their own digitization method to transfer the newspapers from microfilm. The content from this digitization work was then deposited into the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America and into the Kentucky Digital Library where the public can access it online.





MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, (859) 257-8716whitney.hale@uky.edu

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