Selections from the Catholic Advocate, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Newark, have now been digitized in a cooperative project between Seton Hall University’s Special Collections and the Catholic Research Resources Alliance (CRRA). The newspaper has been published regularly since 1951; however, the issues selected for this digitization project were limited to the years 1958-1964, the era of the Second Vatican Council, enabling researchers to examine this period and its impact on the Newark Catholic community. The project digitizes newspapers from around the country, enabling scholars to examine differences and similarities between regions during this period.
Seton Hall Special Collections and University Library staff selected the best quality images to scan and provided description of the materials to allow for the detailed searches that are now possible. As part of the digitization process, the text was captured using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to allow for keyword searches of the entire text of each article, not just the titles. If a word or name is mentioned anywhere in an article or even in a photograph caption, it will be found in the powerful search engine used in the portal. However, because the contents were read by machine, interpretive errors are possible in the text. Therefore, the public is invited to read and correct the text, and particularly active commentators are acknowledged on the website in a “Hall of Fame.”
The CRRA has digitized many more newspapers as part of its project, including the San Francisco Archdiocese’s Monitor, the Clarion Herald of New Orleans, and the Catholic Telegraph of Cincinnati, among others. The project and the construction of the Catholic News Archive website was the recipient of a Catholic Communications Campaign grant from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The digitized materials are currently being utilized in classes at Seton Hall University. Professor Alan Delozier, University Archivist, has introduced students to this new resource in his class “New Jersey Catholic Experience,” offered through the Department of Catholic Studies. Students are able to use this powerful new tool to conduct in-depth research on the history of the Catholic New Jersey community.
The new portal and all of its content can be explored here; the Catholic Advocate content specifically be found here.