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Newspapers as Data: A Collections as Data Project

About the project


The University of Arizona Libraries was awarded a Collections as Data: Part to Whole grant funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. 

"Using Newspapers as Data for Collaborative Pedagogy: A Multidisciplinary Interrogation of the Borderlands in Undergraduate Classrooms" brings together a group of library faculty and disciplinary scholars to introduce students to data literacy and computational analysis using digitized historical newspapers from Arizona.

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About the newspapers

The University of Arizona Libraries partnered with the State Library of Arizona to digitize Arizona newspapers for the National Digital Newspaper Program. The newspapers are now available open-access on the Library of Congress' Chronicling America.

This computational analysis project focuses on eight papers, including Spanish-language newspapers, newspapers of African American communities, and newspapers from predominantly white English-speaking communities, all located within the Southwest during two time periods: 1915 to 1922 and 1941 to 1959.

  • Apache Sentinel and Post Script of the Apache Sentinelpublished 1943-1946, digital files available 1943-1946
  • Arizona Post, published 1946-2020, digital files available 1946-1962
  • Arizona Sun, published 1942-1965, digital files available 1946-1962
  • The Bisbee Daily Review, published 1896 (as the Weekly Orb)-2020, digital files available 1901-1922
  • The Border Vidette, published 1894-1934, digital files available 1897-1934
  • El Sol, published 1939-1981, digital files available 1942-1962
  • El Tucsonense, published 1915-1959, digital files available 1915-1957
  • Phoenix Tribune, published 1918-1931, digital files available 1918-1931

About the courses

Newspapers will be used as data to explore topics as part of students' assignments in courses during the Fall 2020 semester:

ENGL 696E: Archival Research Methods in Rhetoric and Composition

HIST 358: Natural History of Disasters

HIST 495/595: Archives, Museums, and Zoos: Introduction to Public History

JOUR 405/505: Arizona Student Media Apprenticeship

SPAN 350: Introduction to Literary Analysis

Student projects

The Newspapers as Data project will culminate in an undergraduate student symposium. Student projects will be featured later in the Fall 2020 semester.

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Newspapers as Data: Descriptions and Locations: Lesson to introduce the historical Arizona newspapers used in the project.

Newspapers as Data: Context: Lesson about understanding key factors about the broader context of newspapers in Arizona, the scope of the newspapers, and what Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is.

Intro to Text MiningLesson about text mining, word frequencies, and text mining tools. 

Newspaper data

Borderlands newspapers on GitHub: Includes Jupyter Notebook lessons and a sample data set of three newspapers: Bisbee Daily ReviewBorder Vidette, and El Tucsonense, 1917-1919

UA Data Repository: Includes text data files of the eight newspapers used for the CAD project.

Recommended readings

Examples of text data mining:

Text data mining in Python:

Project Team

  • Project lead: Mary Feeney, Librarian, Research & Learning Department, The University of Arizona Libraries
  • Disciplinary lead: Anita Huizar-Hernández, Associate Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, The University of Arizona
  • Administrative lead: Sarah Shreeves, Vice Dean, The University of Arizona Libraries
  • Celeste González de Bustamante, Associate Professor, School of Journalism, and Director of the Center for Border and Global Journalism, The University of Arizona
  • Marya McQuirter, Director of the Public History Collaborative and Assistant Professor, Department of History
  • Katherine Morrissey, Associate Professor, Department of History
  • Cristina Ramírez, Associate Professor, Department of English, and Program Director of the Rhetoric, Composition, and the Teaching of English graduate program
  • Jeff Oliver, Data Science Specialist, Office of Digital Innovation and Stewardship, The University of Arizona Libraries
  • Verónica Reyes-Escudero, Katheryne B. Willock Head of Special Collections, The University of Arizona Libraries
  • Megan Senseney, Office of Digital Innovation and Stewardship Department Head, The University of Arizona Libraries
  • Erika Castaño, Assistant Librarian and Archivist, Special Collections, The University of Arizona Libraries