Newspaper digitisation volunteers receive Australia Day honours

Recognition for top text correctors

Six people who helped correct millions of lines of text online in the National Library of Australia’s Newspaper Digitisation Program will be presented with special Australia Day awards.

The National Library’s newspaper digitisation program began two years ago, using Optical Character Recognition software to automatically convert old newspaper images into digital text. The small fonts and uneven printing of many of the newspaper pages made conversion difficult and not always accurate.

More than 5000 online users have corrected text and the top correctors will receive special awards. From a stay-at-home mum to a retired couple, the correctors have provided enormous assistance to the program.

Julie Hempenstall from Victoria, Maurie and Lyn Mulcahy from Queensland, Fay Walker from Queensland, John Hall from Victoria and Ann Manley from NSW will be presented with awards for their efforts during a presentation in the National Library Theatre.

Manager of the Australian Newspaper Service at the National Library, Rose Holley, praised their contributions.

“Their contribution and dedication to this project is simply remarkable,” she said in a statement. “They have really gone the extra mile.”

The program, which is run in conjunction with state and territory libraries, digitises historic Australian newspapers from 1803 up to 1954 when copyright began. The digitised images and text will be available to everyone via the Web. About 40 million articles will be available via the program by June 2011.

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