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Chronicling America: A Guide for Researchers

About the Collection

The Chronicling America Historic American Newspapers collection provides access to select digitized newspaper pages produced by the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Library of Congress (LC). As part of the program, cultural heritage institutions apply for and receive awards to select and digitize newspaper pages representing the history, geographic coverage, and events of note for their state or territory. Supported by NEH, this rich digital resource will be developed and permanently maintained at the Library of Congress. An NEH award program will fund the contribution of content from, eventually, all U.S. states and territories. Visit the Library of Congress' NDNP website for more information on program guidelines.

This page contains general information about the scope of Chronicling America and how the digital collection is built.

Exploring Chronicling America Newspapers Map

Chronicling America Scope and Coverage

Chronicling America currently contains millions of newspaper pages published through 1963 from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. New newspaper pages are added to Chronicling America on a regular basis. See a list of NDNP award recipients for more information on current participation.

To better understand the scope and coverage of newspapers currently available in the collection, explore Chronicling America's newspapers on an interactive map and timeline interface and view additional data visualizations created by LC staff.

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Building the Digital Collection

Chronicling America is comprised of digitized newspapers that were selected by state institutions that are NDNP participants. Each NDNP participant receives an award from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to select and digitize approximately 100,000 newspaper pages representing that state's regional history, geographic coverage, and events of note. After completing an award, participants can reapply for additional awards with NEH.

Participants are expected to digitize primarily from microfilm holdings for reasons of efficiency and cost, encouraging selection of technically-suitable film, bibliographic completeness, diversity and "orphaned" newspapers (newspapers that have ceased publication and lack active ownership) in order to decrease the likelihood of duplicative digitization by other organizations.

These newspaper materials were digitized to technical specifications designed by the Library of Congress. These specifications include the following basic elements (profiles describing the full set of specifications can be found at :

  • TIFF 6.0, 8-bit grayscale, 400 dpi, uncompressed, with specified tag values
  • JPEG2000, Part 1; 8-bit component; 6 decomposition layers; 25 quality layers; 8:1 compression; with XML Box with specified RDF metadata
  • Single page PDF with hidden text; down sampled to 150 dpi, using JPEG compression; with XMP containing specified RDF metadata.
  • Single page machine-readable text encoded in ALTO, v. 2.0 XML; in column-reading order (created with Optical Character Recognition).
  • METS XML data objects describing newspaper issues, pages, and microfilm reels; incorporating elements in MODS, PREMIS, and MIX formats.

Chronicling America provides access to these digitized historic materials primarily through a Web interface enhanced with dynamic interactivity for magnification and navigation.

All newspaper titles selected for Chronicling America must be under bibliographic control per U.S. newspaper cataloging guidelines maintained by the Cooperative Online Serials Cataloging (CONSER) program and included in the CONSER database hosted within the OCLC Online Union Catalog (WorldCat). The Directory of U.S. Newspapers in American Libraries (previously known as the United States Newspaper Directory and included in the Chronicling America: Historic American Newspaper online collection) is derived from these CONSER-level library catalog records primarily created by state institutions during the United States Newspaper Program (USNP) (1982-2011).

This directory of newspapers published in the United States since 1690 can help identify what titles exist for a specific place and time, and how to access them. While the data in this resource mirrors what is also available in OCLC WorldCat, this directory provides an alternate interface to this information, tailored to searching newspaper records and available as its own dataset.

Additional information about the Directory of U.S. Newspapers in American Libraries and the U.S. Newspaper Program can be found at the Directory of U.S. Newspapers in American Libraries: A Guide for Researchers

The repository developed for Chronicling America is based on the Open Archive Information System (OAIS) Reference Model for preservation repository architecture and supported by a variety of modular components to enable long-term sustainability of data ingestion, archival management and data dissemination. For more information, see or contact [email protected].

The Library of Congress believes that the newspapers in Chronicling America are in the public domain or have no known copyright restrictions. Newspapers published in the United States more than 95 years ago are in the public domain in their entirety. Any newspapers in Chronicling America that were published less than 95 years ago are also believed to be in the public domain, but may contain some copyrighted third party materials. Researchers using newspapers published less than 95 years ago should be alert for modern content (for example, registered and renewed for copyright and published with notice) that may be copyrighted. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item and securing any necessary permissions ultimately rests with persons desiring to use the item.

The NEH awardee responsible for producing each digital object is presented in the Chronicling America page display, below the page image – e.g. Image produced by the Library of Congress. For more information on current NDNP awardees, see

For more information on Library of Congress policies and disclaimers regarding rights and reproductions, see