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New Enhancements

JN Foundation’s Davidson archive now part of U-M’s Bentley library.

It has happened again. The Detroit Jewish News Foundation, via its William Davidson Digital Archive of Jewish Detroit History, has taken another step forward in its mission to preserve and make available the history of Detroit’s Jewish community, that is, your history.

It is hard to believe, but this month marks the five-year anniversary of the launch of the digital archive. It began with the digitization of every historic page of the Detroit Jewish News, 1942-2017. Along the way, every existing page of the Detroit Jewish Chronicle, 1916-1951, was added to the archive (just so you know, we scoured archives across the United States but still could not find issues for two months in 1916, which is why we say “every existing page”).

The Detroit Jewish News Foundation website was also totally revamped three years ago. Afterward, we all had much easier access to the archive’s nearly 330,000 historic pages of the JN and the Chronicle.

And, as always, throughout the process, the archive has been and still is free and downloadable for all.

Following the launch of this wonderful resource, an endowment from the William Davidson Foundation helped assure the archive continues as a vibrant, vital, up-to-date and well-utilized destination for information, insight and lessons in leadership.

Now, the Detroit Jewish News Foundation has taken the next step forward. As of Nov. 5, the archive is a permanent collection of the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan. First and foremost, this means that the Bentley will preserve and protect the archive forever. It will be hosted on U-M servers, with periodic enhancements to the database and software as new programs are developed in the future. Other collections at the Bentley include Civil War letters, the papers of Michigan governors and the papers of Carl and Sander Levin, A. Alfred Taubman and Mandell L. “Bill” Berman.

On the personal level, this means you will see a few changes in how you access the archive. You will continue to enter it through the Detroit Jewish News Foundation’s William Davidson Digital Archive of Jewish Detroit History (www.djnfoundation.org). Additionally, access to the archive is now available through the U-M library system for historians and researchers.

Your searches will have one significant change. In the search box, when you are looking for a proper name, like a person or place or organization, you will need to place quotation marks around the name, like this: “William Davidson” or “Jewish Community Center.” Then, as usual, you will see a list of every page containing that proper name.

Once you have made a search and the list of pages with your search term is shown, you will also notice two other new features. The most significant is that once you are on a page from the list, you can use buttons on the top right of the search page to go back and forth through an issue. No longer do you need to go back into the archives for the next page of any article. And, you will see on your left a graph that shows the number of pages per decade. Click on that to narrow your search according to the year that you wish to find. You will also see new options for downloading on the right of the page and other features.

We at the Detroit Jewish News Foundation are excited and pleased to bring you the next evolution of the William Davidson Digital Archive of Jewish Detroit History. Let us know how you like it or if we can help. We can be reached at info@djnfoundation.org.

Happy hunting!

Mike Smith

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