May 22, 2022

75,000 Newspapers Pile at Up Iowa State Archives After 2009 Budget Cuts

From the Des Moines Register:

More than 75,000 Iowa newspapers are piling up in state archives [a part of the The State Historical Society of Iowa] while officials decide if they can afford to resume microfilming the publications as they did for more than 60 years before budget cuts prompted an end to the practice about five years ago.


State finances have improved, but officials say they don’t want to resume microfilming the papers until they hammer out a larger plan for the historical society’s collection.

“We’re going to take a real comprehensive view of how it will all work,” said Mary Cownie, director of the Department of Cultural Affairs.


Bart Schmidt, digital projects librarian at Drake University, said converting newspapers to microfilm pretty much guarantees their survival for 100-plus years, but that the society was exploring other options, including digital copies.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.