GOOD NEWS!! From Bill Barrow Cleveland Memory Project

Submitted by lmcshane on Fri, 07/15/2022 - 09:44.

 - A message from Cleveland Memory -

Dear friends and supporters -
In response to a heartening increase in both public and private calls to digitize and make available the 104-year run of the Cleveland Press, we wanted to reach out and let you know about the work we're doing, the progress we've made, and the challenges we're facing in making this a reality.
As many of you know, the morgue of the Press - over a million clippings and half a million photos - was donated to Cleveland State University's Michael Schwartz Library in 1984 by the newspaper's owner, Joseph E. Cole, who was then a CSU Trustee. For 20 years, the Cleveland Press Collection has been the heart of our Cleveland Memory Project.
The staff here has been eager to fully digitize the Cleveland Press for years, but the unclear copyright status of the newspaper has made progress difficult. Our efforts have been further hampered this year by staffing shortages since the retirement of Bill Barrow and five other library staff last August. The University has not replaced Bill, or our Archivist, or any of our Digital Production Unit staff. Although we are hopeful of making a case for a new Special Collections Librarian, we have been forced to close our reading room to the public in the interim.
Nevertheless, we are determined to make what progress we can, since we recognize the enormous value of digital access to the Press for many Clevelanders and others around the world.
To that end, in spring 2022 Michael Schwartz Library staff began a re-assessment of the copyright status of the Cleveland Press. Research is our bread and butter - we're librarians, after all - so we began with researching a way to finally settle the copyright status of the Press. Although we have determined that we have no evidence Cleveland State was given the rights to the paper, there is encouraging news, too. Our initial review indicates that the newspaper as a whole was not registered with the copyright office during any year of its publication. This means that the content owned by the Press is in the public domain.
However, there is quite a bit of content in the Press which was not owned by the Press, such as syndicated content, cartoons, serialized fiction, etc. We are currently undergoing the much more difficult task of determining the copyright status for this syndicated content. As you may imagine, the review process involves many hours of meticulous work, checking every issue of the paper and carefully documenting the contents. We are very fortunate to have a volunteer doing the bulk of this work with guidance from Mandi Goodsett, our copyright librarian. The volunteer work of Zach Perrier, a student at the College of Wooster, has been invaluable to our efforts and is very much appreciated.
Zach predicts that he will be done with his syndicated content review by the end of the summer. At that point, CSU intends to partner with other local organizations and libraries to decide how best to proceed with digitizing the content, and how to finance the undertaking.
We are grateful to our many supporters for keeping this important issue alive, and we're happy to keep all of those interested informed of our progress!
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