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Rejoice! The historic daily newspaper of DeLand has finally been digitized!

The DeLand Sun News, the former, and longest-running daily paper covering DeLand and the surrounding area, was published under a variety of names — as the DeLand News, the DeLand Sun, and ultimately, the DeLand Sun News — from 1887 to 1992.

Until now, copies of the paper (from 1903 to 1992) were stored on microfilm at the DeLand Regional Library. Researchers, history buffs, or the just plain curious could view the papers on one aging microfilm machine — and it cost a dime to run.

The microfilms were slowly degrading — had what they call “vinegar syndrome” — so library officials moved forward with a plan to digitize the whole lot.

Library officials were very careful when sending out the old microfiche for digitizing.

“On account of them being irreplaceable, each shipment was insured,” Collection Development Manager Brook White said. “In addition, each shipment was sent a few days apart to make sure that they would not be on the same vehicle heading to Texas for digitization.”

The complete collection is now available through the Volusia Library Services website, and in most cases, is searchable by keyword. The search is powered by Newsbank, a comprehensive database of newspaper archives.

For the very old editions, that search function is not available due to the degradation, but still! Compared to the time-consuming and needle-in-the-haystack process available before, this is invaluable.

To search the DeLand Sun News, go to www.volusialibrary.org. At the tabs at the top, scroll over “Digital Library,” then “Research Databases,” then click “Databases A-Z.”

The first result is “America’s Historical Newspapers.” Click on the “Link for remote access” in that section. A list appears. Click “DeLand News Historical Archive.”

When the login prompt appears, enter in your library-card number (no need for your library pin/password). From here, you can generally search the records of all four iterations of what was ultimately consolidated into the Sun News, or specifically search any one paper.

The total cost for digitizing the Sun News and other old newspapers was $210,000, according to Volusia County documents.

— Eli Witek


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