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Preserving digital local news

Robert B. Allen (College of Information Science and Technology, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)
Kirsten A. Johnson (College of Information Science and Technology, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 6 June 2008




The purpose of this paper is to explore issues and approaches for collection and management of born digital local news. Much local news – important documentation of local history – is being lost. The fact that a lot of news media is now available digitally presents new opportunities but also new challenges for such preservation.


Several specific bottle‐necks for implementing this project are examined. For instance, the size of the problem is estimated by approximating how much local news is generated in one US state. Then the difficulties in capture, storage requirements, selection, access, and sustainability are considered, focusing on difficulties in selection. Finally, a number of business models for handling these challenges are explored.


Currently, there is no large‐scale effort under way to preserve local television and newspaper news stories, and as a result this part of history is being lost. Many practical difficulties to a comprehensive system have been found but there would be value even in a system which was not the ideal. Newspaper web sites and streaming radio stations should be downloaded. The possibility of capturing video from cable distribution points could be explored.


While none of the business models offers an ideal solution for the preservation of local news, especially not for multimedia sources, it is believed that some of them provide partial answers which should be tried.



Allen, R.B. and Johnson, K.A. (2008), "Preserving digital local news", The Electronic Library, Vol. 26 No. 3, pp. 387-399.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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