On May 23, The Review launched its fundraising drive to complete the online archiving of 125 years of The Review, which has published continuously on a weekly basis since 1893.

Soon after purchasing The Review from Jean Paul and Thérèse Boyer in 1992, publisher Louise Sproule set out to microfilm and preserve every single edition of The Review. “The newspaper pages were all bound in hard-cover books, but the pages were crumbling at the edges. The first edition, dated December 15, 1983, was missing. We later located a copy to complete those early years,” said Sproule.

Over the years, the hard-cover books, were sent to Preston Microfilming in Toronto to be professionally microfilmed. The rolls of microfilm and the books, having been cut open to get a perfect image, were returned to The Review. Each 35-mm negative contains one page of The Review. One roll of microfilm might contain three years of The Review, circa 1900. But in later years, a single roll of microfilm is needed to contain just one year’s worth of pages, due to The Review publishing more pages per week in later times.
“We always sent out only a few books at a time, worried about the loss of the only existing copies of these early editions of The Review, which contain so much local history. We persevered and now: the microfilm part of this project is completed,” says  Sproule.

The next step involved scanning the 35-mm microfilm and at the same time, an OCR (Optical Character Recognition) process was done, so that each page of The Review would be word-searchable. Those word-searchable images are then re-named so that they fall into their place and create editions that are in order by date and by page number. And finally, all of those digital files are uploaded into a central, indexed database, so that people can search for stories and words online from anywhere in the world.

As of today, you can search through The Review Archives online for the years 1893 to 1922 (inclusive).
And since 2006, when The Review converted to digital production, all of its pages from that date going forward are in a searchable, digital format.

It is catching up with the 84 years in between that is the remaining task.

And here is where you come in, if you want to help with what is being called the Review Ink project.

In the past few years, there have been other priorities for The Review. We have been keeping up with technology and have evolved to the point where our site currently is a customer and community portal, accepting reader and advertising submissions. We have ad spots available on our website and have developed new packages for local businesses to push their messages onto several platforms (not just onto our website.) We have diversified and moved into website design and social media management. Since 2006, we have offered a paperless, replica edition of our print edition, online.
We host and manage Vankleek Hill’s community website: Vankleekhill.ca and have donated a website to the Higginson Tower. We support dozens of community events, including the Vankleek Hill Food Bank Jamboree, Trash and Treasure, Porchfest, and we organize the annual Vankleek Hill Christmas Home Tour and the bi-annual Yes, Women Can women’s show. We have put our efforts into doing what we can to ensure that local communities and this newspaper stay vibrant as we move into the future, where things are changing every few weeks, it seems.

To do all of these things, we put the Archives project, which we named Review Ink, on the back-burner. To date, The Review has invested more than $30,000 to preserve the old editions of The Review.

“We are almost there and now, we are asking Review readers and history enthusiasts if they are willing to help us complete this important historical project,” says Sproule.

If you are reading this and you care about history, this is your chance to make a difference. Your donation of $100 will enable The Review to get all of its historical back issues online, where they will be preserved for future generations.

“As our gift to everyone who contributes, we will give each person access to 125 years of Review Archives for five years. Each contributor will receive a Review 125th anniversary mug, a copy of our Review 125 souvenir book (coming out in September) and your name will be added to The Review Ink Heritage Plaque, to be installed on the east side of The Review building.”

“We will be working with a reputable company in Mallorytown, Ontario to scan all of our approximately 100,000 remaining images (pages) and once that is done, we will be able to add them to our existing online archive. All of this work: the scanning, file naming, uploading and hosting online comes at a cost.
It will take 250 generous people to donate $100 each to move this project forward. (The total project cost is $25,000). If you contribute, you will be a part of preserving community heritage.

There is no deadline to donate, but Sproule says she hopes to have the project completed by the end of the summer. On September 14, 2018, The Review is hosting an Open House event, with local food and local history. A display of 125 front pages of The Review (one from every year) will be on view inside The Review that day. Plus: the Vankleek Hill Museum will have an exhibit of The Review’s history on display that evening.

The Review has already recently added the three years of the Hawkesbury Post to its online archiving project. That newspaper was published between 1899 and 1901 and the only copies in existence found their way to The Review via William Byers.

“We have set it up for people to donate securely online, on our website, or for sure, people can stop by our offices any time to contribute or can send us a cheque by mail or use a credit card to make a contribution over the phone,” adds Sproule. The Review 125 souvenir book, which will contain the top 50 stories from the past 125 years, and the souvenir coffee mug will be available at the open house event on September 14.

“And we hope to unveil the plaque with 250 names on it that evening!” concluded Sproule.

Find out more about Review Ink, the Hawkesbury Post and how to contribute here.