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North Country History lives- digitally

The 17-some issues of North Country, edited by Hilda R. Rachuy in the 70s and 80s, are some of the most popular books sold in our gift shop still today. Visitors from Beltrami County and across the country seek specific editions of the stories written by their grandparents and great-grandparents.

Unfortunately, a limited number of copies of the journal were printed. While Beltrami County Historical Society was given the rights to those copies, we do not have the copyright for North Country itself. That means that once our physical copies are sold, we will not be able to reproduce additional physical copies for sale. We know that North Country is an essential piece of our County's history and is significant to many community members, and we took steps to ensure its permanent access.

North Country History Vol. 4, No. 1, 1988 Title Page

Late last year, Beltrami County Historical Society's board voted to use part of the annual income earned from our Northwest Minnesota Foundation Endowment Fund to fund the lease of a new copier with improved scanning capabilities. The new scanner allows us to digitize documents with optical character recognition (OCR). OCR is ideal for older documents not created using a modern computer program because the generated OCR-digital file can be keyword-searched. Keyword-searchable documents allow us to create richer indices for finding information and make it easier for you, the end user, to find specific information in a journal (an author, place, or topic, for example).

With the help of a fabulous volunteer, we completed our first digitization this week and uploaded that file to our catalog. You can check out North Country History volume 4, number 1, at this link, which takes you to our shared public access catalog. Click on the book image to view the full PDF. This is one of our first entries for public access, too!

Once all volumes are digitized and loaded into our catalog, we will place links to each issue directly on our website for permanent public access. We will continue to sell the physical copies of North Country until they are no more - but are grateful to our members and donors whose contributions to our endowment and volunteer support of projects like this make it possible for us to preserve and share our amazing history with everyone!

If you are interested in donating or volunteering to support future digitization projects, don't hesitate to contact us - and be on the lookout for North Country on the website! -ET

P.S. The first story in this issue is awesome, and we need to bring Potato Day back.

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