Utah Digital Newspapers

Searchable collection of Utah newspapers that have been digitized.

About the collection

In 2001 the Marriott Library was awarded a Library Services and Technology (LSTA) grant to develop a newspaper digitization project. As a result, the Library successfully digitized 30,000 pages from three weekly newspapers. Later, the University of Utah partnered with Brigham Young University, Utah State University, and Salt Lake Community College to create Utah’s only keyword-searchable statewide digital newspaper repository. In September 2003, the library received a $1.02 million National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Brigham Young University made a significant contribution to the required matching funds. With this funding, an additional 240,000 pages was added.

In 2005–2011, UDN received three National Digital Newspaper Program grants from the National Endowment of Humanities (NEH). These grants combined for $1.08 million in funding and provided for the digitization of another 350,000 pages. This content can be found on the Library of Congress' site Chronicling America as well as on this website.

UDN currently offers 8.7 million pages from 392 newspapers. UDN is currently in a three-year partnership with Ancestry.com to digitize all remaining Utah newspapers.

Home page: Utah Digital Newspapers

The Utah Digital Newspapers site has detailed instructions for 

  • how to search
  • making sense of your search results
  • opening one page or article
  • removing highlights from words and phrases
  • how to browse
  • exploring and searching in one newspaper
  • searching the article-segmented newspapers
  • how to use Advanced Search
  • zoom or pan
  • download or print

Why can't I find what I'm searching for?

One of the pitfalls when working with digitized newspapers is that the ability to search them effectively depends initially on OCR - optical character recognition, electronic conversion of the images into searchable text. Whether a paper was digitized from the original issues or from microfilm, OCR results from digitized newspapers can be very poor. OCR may correctly identify up to 80% of individual characters, but even a single incorrect character will render the word it is in unfindable with a search. That reduces "word accuracy" to something closer to 60%. Different strategies have been used in order to improve search results, including having headlines keyed in separately (a costly procedure), so at least that much will be reliably searchable. One approach several state projects have adopted is to encourage volunteer editors to correct the OCR-generated text, and publicly acknowledging the most prolific editors on their sites (for example, see California, Colorado, Illinois and Washington in the list below).

If the search engine isn't returning the results you expect, and you are looking for something very specific and know the date that it should have appeared in the paper, it will be more effective to browse by date and look through the issue page by page. If what you're looking for is indeed there, you're likely to spot it easily, while the OCR-generated text was probably sufficiently mangled to make retrieval impossible by keyword searching. If you don't have a good idea of a date, you may get better results using the Advanced Search page.

Digital newspaper collections from other states

Marriott Library Eccles Library Quinney Law Library