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The Brooklyn Public Library spent two years and about $400,000 dollars digitizing just the first 62 years of the Daily Eagle's run, which comes to about 150,000 pages. (A little more than half the funding was provided by a federal grant.) That was back in 2003. For the last decade, the library has been trying to raise money to finish the job.
In the meantime, Tom Tryniski digitized the entire 115-year run of the newspaper, which amounts to almost 750,000 pages.
In its January 2013 strategic plan, the Brooklyn Public Library promises that it will finish digitizing the Daily Eagle (along with 63 Brooklyn community newspapers) by 2015. In an interview, Library Director Richard Reyes-Gavilan said the institution hasn't raised any money yet towards that goal, but that it will be a major priority once other "monstrous projects" are out of the way.
Librarian Joy Holland, who oversees the Brooklyn Public Library's Daily Eagle site, says she's "immensely grateful" for what Tryniski has done, and directs researchers to the site all the time. She also thinks the library's site, while far more limited is scope, is "more suitable for use in educational environments."
Fultonhistory.com, and for casual users, it’s easier to search. Fultonhistory.com also has a bizarre interface that includes swimming fish and the occasional live video stream of squirrels eating corn on Tryniski's front deck. Perhaps the strangest detail is a moving graphic in the left hand corner of the screen that shows Tryniski's head grafted on top of the body of a spider.The site has fewer keyword recognition errors than
Tryniski, who has never altered the site's original graphic design, says he's emphasizing content over style.
"I could spend all my time on the interface, or I could spend my time on the digitization and data processing," says Tryniski. "Once you hit the search button the interface disappears and you get to see the newspapers."
Tryniski's had discussions with the New York State Library to donate his archive eventually, but talks have stalled. He gets emails all the time from users sharing discoveries they've made on his site and thanking him for making it all possible.
"I just get a lot of satisfaction helping people find information," says Tryniski. "It's just really nice looking back in time and reading about what was going on."
Video written, produced, shot and edited by Jim Epstein, who also narrates.
Approximately 5 minutes.
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[*]: About 2 million pages that the NEH has awarded grants for haven't yet made it online, so the $3 per page estimate was arrived at by dividing $22 million (total grant funding as of 2012) by 7,271,000 pages (total paid for by grants as of 2012).