Wellington Advertiser immortalized in online archives database

Every edition in the Wellington Advertiser’s 50-year history is now available online.

On April 4, the Wellington County Museum and Archives officially launched the new Wellington Advertiser Digital Archive on the museum and archives website.

“The public is looking for digital content that’s online,” said archivist Karen Wagner.

“And because of the content that the Wellington Advertiser has in it, and we can go back 50 years to 1968, it’s going to be really useful whether or not you’re researching certain facts about a particular topic or you’re looking up a particular individual.”

She added, “I think students doing history projects or any kind of school project will be able to use the database … just to see how different things changed.”

The launch coincided with the Wellington Advertiser’s 50th anniversary celebration at the museum.

“Copies of the Wellington Advertiser, from day one, will be available online as a resource accessible around the globe,” Wellington Advertiser publisher Dave Adsett said at the event.

“We are happy to see the project come to fruition.”

Wellington County received capital funding to send the Wellington Advertiser out of house to have the pages scanned as searchable PDFs. At the same time, the pages were preserved as microfilm, a technique Wagner said is dependable for preservation up to 500 years.

The whole process took about three months for the full 50 years of the paper.

Once the museum received the PDFs, Wellington County’s IT department created the searchable database. Users will be able to search key words, names, issue dates, years and more to pinpoint the information they’re seeking.

“We’re always trying to work on projects that will be of benefit to county residents,” Wagner said.

She added the Advertiser was a good choice to begin digitally archiving the county Newspapers.

“The Wellington Advertiser is the only true county paper and … we were able to scan it and get searchable PDFs out of it because of the time it was printed,” Wagner said.

“[In] 1968 the printing is very easy to read … unlike the older Newspapers, particularly pre-1950, the typeface, once it’s scanned, can be very difficult to read for optical character recognition.”

Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott thanked Wellington County for “working on this one for a number of months to give us this treasure that we now have, which is the archived editions of the Wellington Advertiser going back some 50 years.”

The goal, Wagner said, is to get all Wellington County Newspapers into an online database.

Some  titles include the Fergus News Record, Elora Express, Elora Sentinel, Erin Advocate, Palmerston Observer, Harriston Review, Arthur Enterprise, Mount Forest Confederate, the Drayton Advocate, Community News, Clifford Arrow, Clifford Express and Eramosa Community News.

“That’s a project for the next five or ten years because we’ve got hundreds of years,” Wagner said.

“Almost all of those … Newspapers have over 100 years worth of Newspapers, like the Mount Forest Confederate, 1870 was the earliest; Elora goes back to 1852, so we’ve got a lot of papers.

“Most of them were weekly so there’s a lot of content to get online.”

Though the Mount Forest Confederate (from 1870 to 1930) is already in the online database, Wagner said it’s microfilm and users must know the specific date.

That database is not searchable.

The plan, she said, is to digitize all county Newspapers in the same way as the Advertiser.

All Wellington Advertiser Newspapers up until March 2018 are now in the archive and Wagner said new editions would be uploaded once or twice a year.

To access the digital archive visit eservices.wellington.ca/Museum.Advertiser.