The Estonian Archives in Australia has joined forces with the National Library of Australia to ensure Meie Kodu is available for everyone to read now and into the future.
Meie Kodu from 1949 to 1954 has been digitised as part of the National Library's Australian Newspapers Digitisation Program and is now available to read online at http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper.
The cost of digitising the first five years of Meie Kodu has been borne by the Estonian Archives in Australia.
The digitisation has been undertaken as part of a National Library of Australia programme available to all libraries, community groups and other organisations, to digitise selected newspaper titles. This service has provided free online access to over 6 million pages from around 270 Australian newspapers from every state and territory.
What makes the project so exciting is that the result of the digitisation is not just a PDF copy of the newspaper. All issues that are available on-line as part of this project are fully text searchable. Using a powerful search engine, users type in a term they want to search. They can limit the search by date and newspaper and even type of report such as 'Headline', or 'Article' or 'Advertising'. In this case, 'leib' turned up a number of references, some to articles using the term, but also to advertisements for stores selling it. For example, an advertisement for a new European-style delicatessen opened by E Tähtra at 148 Cabramatta Road, Cabramatta appeared in the issue of 22 January 1953. People looking for references to relatives, ancestors or family in these issues of Meie Kodu can search by their names.
The co-operation of Meie Kodu, which kindly gave copyright permission to allow the copies of Meie Kodu to be digitised and made available on the Internet, is gratefully acknowledged by the Estonian Archives in Australia. It is hoped that later issues after 1954 will be digitised as well making them available to all. However, this will need financial assistance from the Estonian community. The Estonian Archives in Australia hopes to set up a scheme seeking donations to fund further digitisation.
'Working with the National Library to digitise Meie Kodu makes a valuable historical resource freely available to anyone who wants to research Estonians in Australia from the comfort of their own home', observed Dr Terry Kass, chairman of the Council of the Estonian Archives in Australia. 'Historians, researchers, family historians and many others have been using TROVE since it started in 2008. It has already revolutionised historical research by increasing the quantity of historical data that can be found on-line. It has made historical research in regional Australia, where people do not have ready access to major libraries or archives, so much easier. Now those of Estonian descent may also benefit from this resource.'
The program is closely linked with the Australian Newspaper Plan (http://www.nla.gov.au/anplan), a cooperative endeavour to collect, preserve and provide access to Australian newspapers.
Access to digitised newspapers including Meie Kodu is through the National Library's free discovery service, Trove (http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper). By searching in TROVE, users can easily find other information such as books, pictures, maps and sound recordings.
It's free to all users. Why not try a search? You might find more than you imagined.
Dr Terry Kass
Chairman, Council of the Estonian Archives in Australia