March 31, 2017
The Bentley Historical Library has unveiled 12 decades of Michigan Daily history through a new online database that contains searchable digital copies of the historic newspaper.
The first online search of the digitized Daily was performed by President Mark Schlissel during a reception Thursday at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library.
"This effort celebrates and preserves 125 years of editorial history for America's greatest public university," said Bentley Director Terrence McDonald. "This database will be a gold mine of University of Michigan and state of Michigan history."
The digitization has been a collaboration among the Bentley, the Daily and the U-M Library. The digital archive contains issues from the Daily's founding in 1891 through 2014 — including more than 300 volumes from 23,000 issues.
The new, high-resolution scans will be available via an online database that was designed and developed by the U-M Library.
These front pages from The Michigan Daily — an early issue in the database, from Sept. 30, 1891, and the June 24, 2003, announcement of the Supreme Court's affirmative action ruling — are part of the newspaper's new digital archive.
According to John Weise, associate director of IT at the U-M Library, the database will reduce the need for the handling of the original, fragile materials, making the content browsable and searchable by date and full-text.
"The U-M Library is proud to provide the digital preservation and web infrastructure for this remarkable chronicle of the university," Weise said. "Bringing this online required a high degree of expertise, collaboration and efficient productivity. It is an exemplary demonstration of the commitment of libraries and archives to ensuring enduring access of the human record."
Neil Chase, chairman of the board for student publications and former editor-in-chief of the Daily, said that before the digitization effort, there were only a couple of ways to search through older issues of the Daily — either in the archives at the Bentley, or in bound volumes at the Daily's office.
"I think that there will be a lot of interest in this project not only from alums, but also from researchers, or anyone interested in regional, national or world history," Chase said. "People will be able to search through everything from Tom Hayden's early work and what he did at the Daily, to coverage of presidential elections of the past, the civil rights movement in the '60s, and so much more."
The digitization was made possible by a gift from the Kemp Family Foundation, which was established by U-M alumnus John B. Kemp, founder and chief executive officer of Lease Corp. of America in Troy, Mich. The foundation is the philanthropic arm of a family with deep roots in the history of U-M, with four generations of family members having received their education at the university.
"The digitized Daily will help something we feel strongly about, which is history and the study of history," Kemp said. "The Daily is a significant publication, so many important events are recorded in its pages."
The Michigan Daily digital archive is free, mobile-friendly and accessible to the public.