The Rocky Mountain News Lives...at Denver Public Library
When the last Rocky Mountain News (RMN) rolled off the press in the winter of 2009, plenty of Colorado residents thought they'd seen the last of the venerable local tabloid. But thanks to a generous donation from RMN publisher Scripps-Howard, the paper's legacy lives on at the Denver Public Library's Western History/Genealogy Department.
Last year, DPL assumed ownership of the RMN's entire archive, including hundreds of thousands of photographs and clipping files. Now, after nearly a year of behind-the-scenes work by our WH/G catalogers and librarians, DPL is pleased to announce that the Rocky Mountain News digital photograph archives are now available to researchers across the world.
Preparing this collection for public access through our Digital Collections page was anything but a turnkey operation. That's because each photograph and file requires individual attention to give it a description that's searchable on the web. (Given the massive size of this collection, our staff and volunteers will be working on, and improving its accessibility, over the course of many years to come.)
This acquisition includes hundreds of thousands of photos taken by RMN photographers over the course of more than a century and captures Colorado's ascension from log cabin frontier to Queen City of the Plains. Included in this collection are several sets of Pulitzer Prize winning photo series, including stirring images from Columbine High School; Colorado on Fire; and Todd Heisler's unforgettable, Final Salute.
The first set of photos to be made available from this collection cover the years between 1999 and 2009 and were all "born digital." In laymen's terms, that means they were taken with a digital camera. Because of this, they came to us with a very robust set of metadata (information such as when the photo was taken and what exposure was used). It also means that making them available through our digital content management system was much easier than it will be for the rest of the collection.
Photos that were taken before 1999, along with the thousands of clipping files in the collection, require a tremendous amount of man power to process, and probably won't be accessible for a few more years. (Though DPL customers can rest assured that our staff and volunteers will be working diligently to make them accessible as soon as possible.)
As substantial as this new collection is, it's hardly the only piece of RMN history housed in the Western History Department. We've long housed a complete run of the paper on microfilm and keep hard copies of the physical paper in our B2 book ranges. (Due to their fragile condition, the physical papers are not available for browsing and DPL customers are asked to use microfilm when researching from the RMN.)
Denver Public Library is extremely fortunate to host this collection and our staff takes their responsibility for caring for this collection quite seriously. With proper care, this collection will stand as a valuable resource for generations of researchers of all levels.
For more information on the Rocky Mountain News archives and how best to search them, check out our Rocky Mountain News at the Denver Public Library Guide.
Thank you, Brian--what a wonderful resource and to have it available to anyone is truly amazing :-) And many thanks to everyone (all those fantastic archivists!) in our Western History department for taking such tender care of this treasure!
Thanks for the kind words Leigh Ann! DPL is very fortunate to have this collection!
Here's an idea...how about giving credit to the photographers! Duh!
Hi George thanks for your comment regarding the RMN Pulitzer Prize photos. The metadata we used for this project was provided by Scripps-Howard and that's what we had to use. If you have any additional questions, or feel that there are errors in the records, please contact us at email@example.com.
Nice work DPL!
Add new comment