Frequently Asked Questions

Ohio Memory is a statewide collaborative digital library, managed by the Ohio History Connection and the State Library of Ohio. This freely-available collection includes materials from more than 360 cultural heritage institutions, representing all of Ohio’s 88 counties.

The mission of Ohio Memory is to provide access to historical treasures of Ohio, bringing together primary sources from all parts of the state in an online digital collection that:

  • celebrates state and local history
  • encourages cooperation between archives, historical societies, libraries, museums, and other cultural organizations
  • allows the global community to discover and explore Ohio’s rich past

Ohio Memory was established in 2000 as a legacy project of the Ohio Bicentennial. The Ohio Historical Society (now the Ohio History Connection) worked with the Ohio Historical Records Advisory Board (OHRAB), the State Library of Ohio, the Ohio Public Library Information Network (OPLIN), and the Ohio Library Council to refine the concept and secure funding for the project. Major funding for the project came from OHS, the Bicentennial Commission, and grants from the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

Ohio Memory remains a partnership with the State Library of Ohio, as well as 20+ active participating institutions with their own institutionally-branded collections who regularly contribute new digital content. The project is maintained through annual subscription pricing from member institutions, as well as funding through the Ohio History Connection and the State Library of Ohio. Ohio Memory is a permanent part of the Ohio History Connection Strategic Plan, and we are always seeking new participating institutions to join us in sharing their digital collections!

To learn about the staff involved with Ohio Memory, please visit our Meet the Staff page.

Ohio Memory has over 360 participating institutions representing all of the state’s 88 counties. A wide variety of of cultural heritage organizations are involved, including historical societies, public libraries, special and academic libraries, and non-profit institutions. To view a full list organizations around the state who have content on Ohio Memory, visit our Submitting Institutions page!

Ohio Memory contains over 500,000 items in a variety of materials including

  • Manuscripts (letters, diaries, etc.)
  • Photographs
  • Maps
  • Archaeological and historical objects
  • Newspapers
  • Video
  • Government records

To learn about the activities and resources created by Ohio Memory staff to help users explore the site, please visit our Educational Resources page.

Ohio Memory collections are freely accessible to the public, without a login! We do offer one research collection–the Wilbur H. Siebert Digital Collection–which is available only by subscription, and requires a login to access. To learn more about gaining access to the Siebert Collection, please visit the collection homepage or contact ohiomemory@ohiohistory.org.

If you wish to post comments or subscribe to the Ohio Memory blog, you will need to register on our WordPress site.

The National Digital Newspaper Program in Ohio (NDNP-OH) is Ohio’s contribution to the Library of Congress’s Chronicling America website, a freely-available online newspaper resource providing access to over 8 million keyword-searchable historic newspaper pages. NDNP-OH is part of the National Digital Newspaper Program which seeks to preserve and provide enhanced access to historic newspaper pages in a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Library of Congress and state institutions like the Ohio History Connection. Between July 2008 and August 2014, the Ohio History Connection digitized over 300,000 pages of Ohio’s historic newspapers published between 1836 and 1922 for Chronicling America! Eventually, the website will contain content from all U.S. states and territories. For more information about NDNP-OH, please click here.

Using knowledge and tools gained through its participation in the National Digital Newspaper Program, the Ohio History Connection has created the Ohio Digital Newspaper Program, a statewide effort to digitize newspapers using current standards and best practices. Ohio Memory contains over 260,000 newspaper pages, much of which is supported by partnerships with cultural heritage institutions around the state.

For a full listing of Ohio newspaper available on Chronicling America and Ohio Memory, see http://www.ohiohistoryhost.org/ohiomemory/newspapers.

The Ohio’s Digitized Newspapers list (http://www.ohiohistoryhost.org/ohiomemory/newspapers) only includes Ohio newspapers available through Chronicling America and Ohio Memory, but additional newspapers have been digitized and are available on other websites. Click here to download a list (as an Excel file) of other Ohio newspapers that you can find for free online.

If you know of an Ohio newspaper that has been digitized and should be included on this list, please email us the paper’s title and web address. At this time, we are only adding links to papers that are freely-available and have been digitized from the original hard copy or microfilm edition. We are not including links to online newspapers or websites for those currently being published (e.g. the Columbus Dispatch).

Newspaper digitization is a time-consuming and costly process, and grant programs, such as the National Digital Newspaper Program, and local projects and partnerships can fund the digitization of only some of Ohio’s newspapers. To learn more about how newspapers are selected for inclusion on Chronicling America, please see About the National Digital Newspaper Program in Ohio.

Ohio Memory provides a variety of resources for users of digitized and historical newspapers to help them better access the vast amount of information available in these primary sources. For video tutorials, interactives and other instructional tools, please check out our Educational Resources!

As part of the Ohio Digital Newspaper Program, the Ohio History Connection partners with local institutions to digitize their microfilmed newspapers. Please see our Microfilm Digitization page to learn more.

Yes! We rely on volunteers to do much of the work involved with digitizing historical materials and making them accessible online.

Volunteers from all backgrounds are welcome! We’re interested in candidates with a passion for Ohio history, strong writing skills, some computer background, and an interest in the digital side of preserving and providing access to historical materials. Candidates must be available between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

As part of Ohio Memory, volunteers primarily work in two areas:

• Digitization: Scanning historical materials from our collections according to best practices and standards in the field of digital preservation. Some projects are long-term, while others involve scanning a single or several items from a collection.
• Metadata: Metadata is the information related to our digital materials that makes them searchable, understandable and manageable over time. You can see the type of information included in metadata by looking at any record on Ohio Memory. Volunteers may help with creating new metadata for newly-digitized material, or managing and editing metadata that is already online. Strong writing skills and research ability are a must.

We try to allow volunteers to develop skills in both these areas, as projects become available. Other possible tasks include quality review of digital material, transcription of historic documents, collation of historic newspapers, and website help, as appropriate.

To learn more about volunteering, please visit the Ohio History Connection Volunteer webpage.

All cultural heritage repositories that hold materials related to Ohio history and make them available to the public are invited to submit collections for inclusion in the Ohio Memory Project. To find out more information on how to participate, please visit the Join Ohio Memory page.

Partner institutions are responsible for:
1. Selecting materials to digitize
2. Digitizing materials or making use of Ohio History Connection digitization services (costs vary based on amount of materials)
3. Completing transcripts and/or translations for materials when applicable
4. Creating metadata for all digital items
5. Submitting materials for upload via external hard drives, FTP services, or other means

We know that digitization can be a costly endeavor, and that every dollar you spend needs to count. That’s why Ohio Memory subscription pricing is based on your organization’s annual budget. Please contact ohiomemory@ohiohistory.org for more information.

Institutions receive CONTENTdm digital library software and the ability to add materials to Ohio Memory and create their own digital library. Subscription pricing includes:

1. One three-hour set-up and training session on CONTENTdm at the partner institution (first year only).
2. Set-up, loading and storage of images. (Copying/loading images into CONTENTdm and set-up of collection database; also covers cost of server, maintenance, upgrading, back-up).
3. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) for materials digitized as TIFF files (to allow full-text search capability).
4. Partner institutions are responsible for all scanning and metadata for digital collections.
5. Digital images/records displayed as part of a CONTENTdm “collection” for the community collection institutions.

Digitizing your collections with Ohio Memory helps preserve your physical materials and increases access to the public. Images can easily be printed or shared via social media, and a permanent Reference URL is provided for citing each digital image and its collection. If you choose, you can even allow users to add comments of their own! Your institution will have its own uniquely-branded collection page, including information about your organization, images and contact information. And when your images catch the eye of researchers or publishers, our Rights and Reproductions team can work with you to manage those requests or get you directly involved in the process.

All accepted materials must be scanned as high-resolution uncompressed TIFFs. These high-quality TIFF files will be used to generate smaller, faster-loading access images that will be available on Ohio Memory. For further information on scanning specifications and best practices, please contact ohiomemory@ohiohistory.org.

A preservation image is a high-resolution, uncompressed image that is best suited for archival preservation or print publications. These files do not incur a loss of data or image quality, while at the same time preserving all the color and detail found in the original item. The most common file type for a preservation image is TIFF (Tagged Image File Format).

An access image is a smaller file (in terms of the amount of space required to store it and time required to download it) that is best suited for publishing on the web. These formats compress the image, and can affect the quality of the resulting image. The most common file types for access images are JPEG, JPEG2000 and PNG.

Yes! Training is provided to all new Ohio Memory partners by the Digital Services staff of the Ohio History Connection, and ongoing support is offered throughout your time as a partner. We’re happy to address any questions you have at any point in the process.

Please contact Jillian Carney, Department Manager for Digital Services, at jcarney@ohiohistory.org or 614.297.2578.

Please contact our Rights and Reproductions staff at 614.297.2530 or images@ohiohistory.org. You may also use our OhioPix website to discover and request historic images. If the image you want to use was submitted by a partner institution, we will help you get in touch with the right person to obtain permission.

The Rights and Reproductions staff of the Ohio History Connection can help you obtain digital or print copies of nearly any item in our collections, whether for personal, non-profit or commercial use. Contact images@ohiohistory.org or visit the Rights and Reproductions page to learn more.

“Use” refers to the reproduction of an image/audio/video in a single medium, including print publication, electronic publication, projection, exhibition, video/film/television distribution, and print/film/television/radio advertising. For example, use of a single image in both a printed journal article as well as the electronic version of the journal would constitute two uses.

Because the high-resolution digital files we provide are too large to send as attachments for many email systems, our standard delivery method is by download link embedded in email. This method involves no additional shipping or media costs, and the link will remain active for three days to ensure you are able to successfully download the file. If you prefer to receive your file via a different method, please contact the Rights and Reproductions staff at 614.297.2530 or images@ohiohistory.org.

Managed by the Ohio History Connection, OhioPix is your one-stop shop for rights-managed historic images of Ohio. Over 60 institutions have contributed to the database to make it more convenient than ever to find and use vintage images for your projects. Visit ohsweb.ohiohistory.org/ohiopix to start exploring! For more information on obtaining images or prints from OhioPix, please contact 614.297.2530 or images@ohiohistory.org.

OhioPix is a subset of the larger collection of digital images available on Ohio Memory. The images on OhioPix are rights-managed and can be purchased directly through the site. If you find an image on Ohio Memory but not on OhioPix, please contact images@ohiohistory.org for assistance with usage information and permissions.

Digital Services offers custom digitization of Ohio History Connection-owned materials for personal, non-profit and commercial use, including photographs, slides, manuscripts, maps and much more!

We also offer digitization services to individuals with an institutional affiliation for specialized scanning needs. Our large format scanner can digitize materials up to 60” by 48”, with the ability to handle even larger materials via additional photo editing services. Our book scanner allows for digitization of fragile bound materials without the wear and tear of a flatbed scan.

Unfortunately, we cannot offer scanning services for personal items held by the general public at this time. Please feel free to contact images@ohiohistory.org with any questions!

All materials are scanned in 24-bit color at 100% of their original size, and saved as uncompressed TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) files. Most materials are scanned at 600 ppi, although smaller materials like slides and negatives may be scanned at higher resolutions (1200 ppi or higher) in relation to the dimensions of the original material. Any extensive photo editing (including stitching of large-format scans) that deviates from our normal specifications can be completed at a rate of $75 per hour.

Media conversion services include:

  • Audiotape or LPs to audio files on DVD or other media
  • Film/video to video
  • Film/video to video files on DVD or other media

Please contact images@ohiohistory.org or call 614.297.2530 for more information!

Our selection criteria are as follows:
1. Historical significance: Collections or items should represent experiences that are either common to all Ohioans, unique to a specific local community, and that reflect one or more of the Ohio Memory subject categories.
2. Scanning potential: Suitability for digitization is evaluated in terms of image quality and physical condition. For example, items that have high contrast and/or a clean, crisp font digitize well. Project staff can provide advice on scanning potential.
3. Complementary value: Preference will be given to materials that best complement collections in Ohio Memory to present a balanced view of state history.
4. Ownership and copyright: The institution must hold property rights to the collection or item and make it available to the public for research. Items that violate copyright restrictions will not be included in Ohio Memory without the permission of the holder of the copyright. If your item is protected by copyright, you must include a signed release from the copyright holder. If you are unsure of the copyright, please contact project staff.

Consider:

  • What are the highlights of your collections?
  • What is the most significant, oldest, or most unique item or collection in your institution?
  • What collection/item best represents your community or region?
  • What items are most used or requested by patrons?

A wealth of copyright resources are available online. Some you may find useful include:

The staff of Ohio Memory are always happy to speak with you further about this complex topic.

Some helpful links include: