Fultonhistory.com really got going in 2003, when Tryniski, a high school graduate, bought a scanner that handles microfilm for $3500 in a fire sale. That meant he didn't need access to the original newspaper copies and he could work quickly because microfilm scanners are largely automated. He installed a keyword recognition program, set up a network of PCs to do the heavy processing, and began uploading his scans to a server that's located in a gazebo on his front deck. He never bothered to change the original name of his website.
Tryniski pays all expenses for the site himself. The only significant costs are bandwidth, for which he pays $630 per month, and hard drives, which run him about $200 per month. He gets his microfilm at no cost from small libraries and historical societies. In exchange, he gives them a copy of all the scanned images analyzed for keyword recognition. Most of the papers Tryniski has digitized are from New York, but he’s rapidly expanding his coverage to other states as well. He is adding new content at a rate of about a quarter-million pages per month with no plans to slow down.
|De serverruimte van Tryniski|
The Brooklyn Public Library spent two years and about $400,000 dollars digitizing just the first 62 years of the Daily Eagle's run, which comes to about 150,000 pages. (A little more than half the funding was provided by a federal grant.) That was back in 2003. For the last decade, the library has been trying to raise money to finish the job.
In the meantime, Tom Tryniski digitized the entire 115-year run of the newspaper, which amounts to almost 750,000 pages.
Fultonhistory.com also has a bizarre interface that includes swimming fish and the occasional live video stream of squirrels eating corn on Tryniski's front deck. Perhaps the strangest detail is a moving graphic in the left hand corner of the screen that shows Tryniski's head grafted on top of the body of a spider.Geef die man een medaille!
Tryniski, who has never altered the site's original graphic design, says he's emphasizing content over style.
"I could spend all my time on the interface, or I could spend my time on the digitization and data processing," says Tryniski. "Once you hit the search button the interface disappears and you get to see the newspapers.
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