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Sunday, October 16, 2016

New database

There is a new database out that is very interesting. We have been waiting for it for quite a while. It's digitized Swedish-American newspapers from 1850 and on to about the 1930s. Coverage varies a lot. The database is hosted by the Minnesota Historical Society and it's free to search here: http://www.mnhs.org/newspapers/swedishamerican. I have spent many extra hours at work this past week to search this database and I have found many clues, both for my own research and other's. I was able to find information about an early emigrant for a colleague. I noticed that this database is also good for finding information about events in Sweden because these Swedish language newspapers quoted the Swedish press. We have very few or really no databases of this kind in Sweden, so this can be used for locating very local news from the 19th century. The actual text is interpreted with OCR software which makes it easy to text-search (even though it sometimes gets it wrong, it's a marvelous tool). I found several news items from my hometown, some were about house fires, auctions and the renovation of the church in 1948. Pretty amazing to find that in an American-based newspaper.

At work we waited for the announcement of the Nobel Prize in Literature. It turned out to be a rather surprising choice this year, Bob Dylan. Nevertheless, it took three minutes before the first book about Dylan was requested from the stacks. It's the same thing almost every year.

This weekend I made a visit to the nearest mall to get groceries, basically. There were high winds and I didn't dare to go on any longer trips. I have also spent a lot of time with the above mentioned research, because this new database has made me dig up several old cases.

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