If you happen to have a collection of pre1980s newspapers from Haliburton County, a local committee wants to hear from you.

Project co-ordinator Ted Brandon said the committee is working under the umbrella of U-Links Centre for Community-Based Research. They are undertaking an extensive newspaper digitization project aimed at preserving Haliburton County’s history – as reported in the local newspapers – and making the information more accessible to the public.

The committee is chaired by Barb Bolin, and includes members from U-Links, Trent University, local museums, the Haliburton County Public Library, and other historical organizations.

The project will include the digitization of all existing historic Haliburton County newspapers from their earliest years of operation dating back to the 1860s. Once digitized, the newspapers will be available for the public to browse on a free searchable web platform.

Phase one of the project is launching this fall. The first step is locating, quantifying, and listing the available publications from various archives throughout the County.

Once the larger collections are catalogued, the committee will be reaching out to the community to see if there are privately-held collections that can fill any gaps that may exist.

Once the first phase of the project is complete, there will be an understanding of the scope of the entire Haliburton County newspaper collection, the committee said. This will give the committee a better understanding of the costs involved in completing the project.

Phase two of the project will involve sourcing funding to do the digitization, the actual digitization and the development of the searchable web platform.

“This is such a vital project for our County. We are one fire away from losing our entire documented history,” Bolin said. “This project will allow more people to do research by using easy keyword searches to help them find that needle in the haystack piece of information they’re looking for.”

Phase one of the project is set to conclude before the end of 2023. If you would like more information or if you hold a collection of pre-1980s newspapers, contact Brandon at haliburtondigital@gmail.com.