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This Project has moved to Github!.

So long and thanks for all the fish.


The National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) is a federally funded project to digitize the microfilm of historic American newspapers. It is a collaboration between the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Library of Congress, and awardee institutions around the United States. This Trac instance is used to help coordinate activities around the open source software that is used by the NDNP program.

Chronicling America and the LC Newspaper Viewer

The software that is made available here, the LC Newspaper Viewer, is oriented around the web application Chronicling America that provides access to millions of newspaper pages at the Library of Congress. You might be interested in running the LC Newspaper Viewer software if you:

  • are an NDNP awardee that wants to see what your content will look like when it is loaded at the Library of Congress, before sending it
  • are an NDNP awardee that would like to run the LC Newspaper Viewer application locally to provide access to your NDNP content
  • are someone else that wants to use the freely available code and data to build your own applications and visualizations

10,000 Foot View

The LC Newspaper Viewer is fundamentally just an open-source web application that understands how to model newspaper data created according to the technical guidelines laid out by the program. If you are familiar with web development, the three-tier application architecture shouldn't be too surprising:

  • Apache Httpd: the web application server
  • Django: the popular web framework for Python
  • MySQL: the open source relational database (should be swappable with other RDBMs)
  • Apache Solr: the fulltext search web service built on top of Lucene

In addition the source code includes a web-based Essay Editor? that provides a lightweight newspaper essay publication workflow to provide additional context around digitized newspapers in the LC Newspaper Viewer.

Diving In

If you've read this far, you might be interested in a few more details:

  • how to engage with the NDNP community to discuss the software, data, project, and submit ideas, bug reports, etc.
  • if you are curious, spend some spare change trying out our Amazon EC2 Machine Image that has the complete Chronicling America application setup and ready to load data
  • or learn how to install the LC Newspaper Viewer
  • how to manage data in the LC Newspaper Viewer (e.g. add title records, load batches, etc.)
  • how to hack? on the LC Newspaper Viewer to add functionality, fix bugs, etc.
  • how to create a new theme? for the LC Newspaper Viewer to fit your web environment
  • where to find the aggregated NDNP newspaper data? for download

February 2011 Hackathon

We have a hackathon scheduled for February 5-6, 2011, in Bloomington, Indiana.