University of Hawaii at Manoa Library
[ Student Equity, Excellence, and Diversity ] Student Equity, Excellence, and Diversity

Digitizing Hawaiian Language Newspapers to Promote Wider Use via the World Wide Web Phase I

Description of Project
Developments Related to a Large-Scale Continuation of Project
Final Report

Questions and comments:


This project seeks to make available selected, heavily used Hawaiian language newspapers to students throughout the state of Hawaii who have access to the World Wide Web (WWW). These historical newspapers, published from the mid-nineteenth through the early twentieth centuries in Hawaii, are currently stored on microfilm. In an effort to make this information accessible in places where libraries do not hold the microfilm or are unable to provide long hours of service, selected articles pertinent to Hawaiian language and history courses and selected rolls of particularly significant Hawaiian language newspapers will be digitally scanned, indexed on a basic level, then stored on a server for access via the World Wide Web.

Heavy use of the microfilm copies have caused deterioration of the reels and degraded the images. Researchers wishing to consult this material have up to now been required to use the microfilm on site in Hamilton library. This project expands access to people who are not able to come to the library and provides access to this important resource without destroying the resource itself. This project is a pilot effort designed to identify the problems and issues related to making microfilmed Hawaiian language materials more widely available through use of digital technology. This project extends efforts of the University to provide for the preservation and access of our cultural and scholarly heritage.

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Description of Project

This project addresses the theme of diversity by promoting the use of Hawaiian language newspapers in an electronic format through the use of the World Wide Web. Approximately eighty Hawaiian language newspapers were published in Hawai'i, from 1834 to 1948. They are primary historical materials that document Hawaiian history. These newspapers are currently stored on microfilm which was produced from newspapers that had deteriorated through the years.

Through subsequent heavy use by students and scholars of the Hawaiian language, some of the microfilm copies have also deteriorated and/or disappeared. Reduplication of these reels from master reels places the master reels at risk as well, for each time a master reel is duplicated it deteriorates a bit, too. The emerging technology of digital scanning allows us to access these important newspaper resources without destroying the resource itself. New technology also enables the enhancing of microfilmed images so that a more readable image can be produced.

This project also addresses the theme of diversity by making accessible Hawaiian language newspapers wherever there is access to the World Wide Web. Few libraries in Hawai'i or elsewhere have collections of the microfilm. Soaring enrollment in Hawaiian language courses and the development of a master's degree in Hawaiian language and literature at the University of Hawai'i at Hilo increase the need for broader access to the newspapers. The project addresses the need for Hawaiian language resource materials at all levels of education.

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Summary of Accomplishments

Complete microfilmed holdings of six newspapers were scanned in entirety. They are Ka Hoku o ka Pakipika, Ke Au Hou, Ka Manawa, Ka Lama,Ka Lei Momi, Ka Lanakila. Over 3,800 scans were made from newspaper pages.

Twenty-two series and articles selected from Hawaiian language newspapers listed above as well as others (Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, Ke Alaula, Ke Au Okoa, Ka Puuhonua o na Hawaii) were printed from microfilm and prepared for scanning.

A web site ( was established on the server at the UH Mänoa School of Library and Information Studies. A hard drive purchased with this grant expanded the capacity of this server to enable the storage of indexing files and images in web-accessible graphic format. A sampling of images has been loaded on the web, to demonstrate different methods of displaying and accessing the images, and to illustrate the problems and challenges encountered during the scanning and processing.

The web site was demonstrated to a Hawaiian language class and to a Hawaiian Studies class.

The following activities were proposed. Each item is followed by a statement of accomplishment or progress.

  1. Identify source of print master microfilm and purchase if needed, to provide a clean copy from which to scan.
    Twelve new rolls of microfilm were purchased for scanning. As a point of comparison, public use rolls of some titles were also scanned. Quality of scanned images were compared.
  2. Rent use of Minolta Microdax 3000 digital microfilm workstation to scan microfilm to digital format.
    The cost of the equipment if it were purchased (over $15,000) necessitated rental. In addition the innovative nature of the project required a cautious approach to making expensive and final decisions about equipment. Communication with colleagues involved in experimental projects such as this reinforced the sense that our efforts involved pioneering uses of technology. One hundred hours of use was rented and fully utilized. Procedures were written; a sample is attached to this report.
  3. Hire and train students to scan and optically enhance images and conduct preliminary-level indexing.
    Two undergraduate students assistants were hired, one from UH Mänoa and one from Honolulu Community College. A graduate student in the School of Library and Information Studies (SLIS) participated as an intern, for a directed studies course. Third-year or greater reading ability in the Hawaiian language, while not required, would have eased the process of enhancing images and locating specific stories on the microfilm. Optical enhancement software was purchased and tested on the images. Rudimentary indexing was created as web links were put in place. A second graduate student intern from SLIS has begun to digitize the articles photocopied from the microfilm.
  4. Purchase additional hard drive to expand School of Library and Information Studies web server.
  5. Investigate or develop form to search index files.
    A simple form to keyword search files is included on the main project web page.
  6. Link to appropriate library and Hawaiian resources on the web.
    Project is not sufficiently represented online; it will be listed on appropriate library web pages when it is more fully online.
  7. Develop form to survey usage information.
    Development of an e-mail survey is part of the fall SLIS digitizing intern's project

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We envisioned that success of the project would be evaluated by:
1) a Web survey to sample usage, comments, etc. and
2) the identification of problems and issues related to making microfilmed newspapers more widely available through the use of digital technology.

It is important to identify and document these issues and problems, so that they can be shared with others interested in utilizing this new technology. This written assessment would serve as the basis of a large-scale project. We are able to present a written assessment which includes problems encountered and written and revised procedures. This assessment is summarized in the next section.

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Developments Related to a Large-Scale Continuation of Project

  1. Off-site, scheduling problems
    Coordinating the scheduling of the rented equipment, which was located off-campus with the work schedules of students from different campuses required intense and continued communication between all parties concerned. We lacked back up equipment in sufficient quantities, so equipment had to be transported back and forth at very specific times to ensure complete backing up of scanned image files.
  2. Equipment, software problems
    Post-scanning processing, problems and procedures took up 95% of the Systems Librarian's time in the project. The following are examples of problems and issues encountered:
    • The Minolta scanning system did not allow any flexibility in naming of files or saving of files (either location on the hard drive or format of the graphic file). This caused extra complexity when trying to identify image files after they were transferred from the leased off-site equipment to the microcomputer equipment at Hamilton Library, where post scanning work was conducted.
    • In addition, we encountered problems in locating a graphic manuipulation program that would perform all the necessary processing functions. Several of the graphics programs which we explored would not open the files in the only format in which they could be saved on the Minolta scanning system. To use the PhotoShop or Canvas graphic programs, one had to first convert the images to a different file format using PaintShopPro.
    • Overall limitations of the microcomputer hardware prevented the use of all of the software. For example, the OCR software (Cuneiform) ran slowly and required more memory than was available on the 386 micro which we used. Therefore it was not feasible to process the image files into ASCII text. To demonstrate the limitations of the 386 equipment, the SLIS digitizing intern working during the summer did time trials of the scanning cleanup and graphic software comparing the 386 versus a pentium microcomputer. Time requirements for various tasks were drastically longer for every task.
    • We began by scanning Ka Hoku o ka Pakipika, a historically significant newspaper which was begun by King David Kalakaua. Ka Hoku o ka Pakipika images could not be scanned in one page/one scan mode using available lenses and scanner, so each page was scanned in sections. Problems with reattaching the sections into one image for the World Wide Web included:
      * the total size of the images was too large and loaded too slowly to be very usable,
      * inability to match the sections exactly,
      * inconsistent lighting in the scans.
    • Use of the scan clean up software Scanfix was found to be unworkable, possibly because of the lighting problems noted above and partially due to the non-standard type faces and poor condition of the newspapers microfilmed. We learned that the only other institution scanning similarly aged newspapers from microfilm that also uses the Scanfix software employs it only to remove margin line marks, not to attempt to clean up the text images. Further testing of the Scanfix software will be done by the SLIS intern using images scanned from the paper printouts.
Further work
We have found that this project of the University of Hawai'i at Mänoa, Hilo, and the Honolulu Community College Libraries is at the forefront in the creation of digital libraries that preserve our nation's heritage. We continue in our efforts to provide electronic access to primary newspaper archives and to provide for the preservation of and access to our cultural and scholarly heritage continues. We have learned that making source materials available in digital format requires investment of large amounts of time and labor. However, we feel the end product will be highly valued and contribute to cultural and historical understaning. We expect to present a summary of our experiences at a future conference such as the Digital Libraries '98: Third ACM Conference on Digital Libraries.

A Pentium computer has recently been assigned to the project by the UH Mänoa Library administration. In addition, the Library's Desktop Network Services department plans to acquire a second Pentium computer and related digitizing equipment through other sources to increase the efficiency of our project. We are searching for grant opportunities which will allow us to continue the scanning/digitizing/processing for the Web of Hawaiian language newspapers. There are currently approximately 58 Hawaiian language newspapers, in approximately 93 reels, that await this work.

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Final Expenditure Report

Category Description Amount
Salaries 2 Student Assistants* $1,098.59
  *$459.01 charged against library's 1997-98 funds for
student assistants, due to insufficient funds at end of year
  Subtotal salaries $1,098.59

Equipment 1 external 3.5 formatted 8.6 gigabyte drive $2,065.00
  100 hours of rental Minolta Microdax 300 $3,120.00
  Subtotal equipment $5,185.00

Materials/supplies 1 ScanFix software version 2.33 $406.00
  1 Cuneiform 2.0e OCR $109.00
  1 Canvas 3.5 w/CD w/ClipArt/Fonts Academ $85.00
  1 Adobe Photoshop 4.0 for Windows 3.1 $242.95
  Silver microform duplicates $136.92
  Subtotal materials $979.87

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September 26, 1997

Joan Hori and Martha Chantiny, UHM Library
Sherie Gusukuma, Honolulu Community College Library
Junko Nowaki, UH Hilo Library
Amount: $7,188.00

A Diversity and Equity grant of $7,188.00 was received by librarians at the University of Hawa'i at Mānoa, University of Hawai'i at Hilo, and Honolulu Community College to digitize selected Hawaiian language newspaper articles currently stored on microfilm, enhance them optically, and mount them on the World Wide Web (Web). A significant newspaper would be entirely scanned. This project was planned to be a pilot effort to provide electronic access to primary newspaper archives.

In November 1997, an additional amount was granted to fund Phase II to continue the cooperative effort of libraries at the University of Hawaii to provide electronic access to primary Hawaiian language archives and complete the processing of more than 3,800 images that were scanned from microfilm in Phase I, as well as to present a hands-on workshop for librarians and Hawaiian language scholars to demonstrate the process of digitizing newspaper archives for the Web.

In Phase I we identified problems and issues related to making microfilmed newspapers more widely available through the use of digital technology. A web site -- -- was established on the server of the UH Manoa School of Library and Information Studies. Progress in Phase I was severely limited during most of the project by our having use of only a 386 personal computer for post-scanning processing. Access to a Pentium computer was made available for Phase II.

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