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MyHeritage inks license agreement with SmallTownPapers to mine historical archive for ‘digital DNA’ using AI

Monroe Monitor Transcript Original Archive

SmallTownPapers' Archive Collection Includes Never Before Digitized Content

MyHeritage has a license to use SmallTownPapers' extensive digitized archive collection to enhance research conducted through its online genealogy platform.

SHELTON, WA, UNITED STATES, June 1, 2023/ -- SmallTownPapers, Inc. has announced that genealogy research platform and family DNA testing provider MyHeritage has acquired a license to use content from the company’s extensive digitized archive collection to enhance research conducted through the MyHeritage online genealogy platform.

MyHeritage is extracting ‘digital DNA’ from the pages of select small-town newspaper archives for assimilation across its voluminous proprietary databases. The license agreement provides Israel-based MyHeritage access to a unique cross section of this exclusive newspaper archive, which includes family and other information useful to researchers and genealogists worldwide.

The data extracted from these newspaper records, potentially numbering in the hundreds of millions, can greatly enrich the connections that MyHeritage is able to provide its customers while researching their own family history.

“After learning from MyHeritage founder and CEO Gilad Japhet how the company’s proprietary technology assimilates newspaper archives in this highly advanced manner, I felt that the uniqueness of our archives would provide tremendous new value to their incredible database,” explained Paul Jeffko, founder and president of SmallTownPapers. “American small towns generate extraordinary information, but it can be time consuming to access and easy to overlook relevant connections. Using small-town archives in this way demonstrates that MyHeritage is on a brilliant track,” Jeffko added.

MyHeritage uses artificial intelligence applied through its sophisticated extraction and matching technologies to identify names, relationships, locations and other data across a wide span of time from the newspaper archives. The result is more meaningful family and historical connections for their customers.

SmallTownPapers’ chief scientist Mike Meadway sees newspaper archives as an untapped trove of data. “Our content can be analyzed through the use of AI to extract previously undiscovered information which is personal and local yet correlates to and across geographical boundaries, giving researchers deeper and more rounded pictures of people and providing new avenues of research to pursue. There are many practical applications,” Meadway said.

Started two decades ago, SmallTownPapers has been working to digitize millions of pages of archives that have been at particular risk of permanent loss. Many are from small media markets and include specialty newspapers where the pages were never microfilmed and many have an archive consisting only of a single copy. SmallTownPapers has obtained, scanned and now owns many of these archives and today is working with publishers and historical stakeholders across the US to ensure even more of these newspaper archives are digitally preserved.

For more information about SmallTownPapers and opportunities to license its archive content, contact SmallTownPapers.

Karen Tarica
SmallTownPapers, Inc.
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