Every issue of The Point News from 1952-2002 is now available online through the College’s Archive website.
Associate Director of the Library and Head of Collection Support Services Katherine Ryner, ’86, started the project this summer, having put other digital collections of St. Mary’s publications on the Archives website in the past. But though Ryner completed these past projects on her own, she consulted an outside company for this summer’s most recent addition to the website. According to Ryner, the digitization was accomplished through a reasonably priced Maryland-based company, Creekside Digital, who compressed the large newspaper text files to ensure quick loading when searched, a process that Ryner could not complete on her own.
The past collections also available on the Archives site consist of The Dove Yearbook, The Mulberry Tree, Monument School of the People, the Slackwater Archive, as well as historic campus photographs and St. Mary’s Projects (SMP) Abstracts.
Also according to Ryner, this project has been long awaited due to other past budgetary priorities, but is now an important addition to the Archives online component.
Besides research and seeing the school’s history in a more accessible way, anyone can observe how the school and publication itself has changed over the years. The paper has changed publication names several times, beginning with The Signal News in 1940. The paper was later known as The Ripples (1948), Tidal Wave (1949), The Signal News (1952), The Point News (Fall 1959), and The Empath (1973) before finally settling on The Point News again in January 1985. Ryner noted that through the gathering process it’s been “fun to see the themes of student concerns over the years.” Constant themes prevalent in the newspaper over the years have been complaints about the food and parking, she added.
As an alum of the College, Ryner noted that “it’s important for places like St. Mary’s to preserve their own local history.” She also added that there’s a value in it for students. “Any academic research that relates to the school’s history is now so much more accessible,” she said.
Whereas the online collection is good for current easy access, the long-term preservation of the publication is still being put down in hard copy. Bound volumes of The Point News may still be found in the periodicals section on the second floor of the library, and are part of the long-term preservation essential to archival work.
While you will find also The Point News preserved in print up to last spring semester, the digital copies of the newspaper are only viewable through spring 2002 because, according to Ryner, “recent graduates should have a grace period before what they may have been involved in during college shows up on the Internet.” However, Ryner will continue to add volumes of various publications to the archives site once appropriate intervals of time pass.
For more information concerning The Point News digital records, visit the Archives web page at www.smcm.edu/archives or contact Katherine Ryner at firstname.lastname@example.org by appointment through the library.