The Digitization of the Lithuanian Diaspora Press


A Baltic Heritage Network News report by Ramunė Kubiliūtė informs us that before the launch of the project, which aims to digitize the press of Lithuanian diaspora, the newspaper Draugas, published from 1909 to the present day, was digitized first. After the success of this work, the idea came about to start bringing online more newspapers published by Lithuanians in the USA. Thus, the project was born, with the initial goal of digitizing Lithuanian newspapers published in the USA so that they could be preserved and made available to readers online worldwide. However, the scope of the work had expanded as more and more of the Lithuanian diaspora press was gradually covered.

Today, the project has gone beyond the geographical boundaries of the USA. The project was started and managed by Dr. Jonas Daugirdas. It is carried out and supported by the Lithuanian Research Center in Chicago. The project is coordinated by Kristina Lapienytė, managing director of the LRC. After starting with the digitization of the Lithuanian American diaspora press, it was decided to include the South American Lithuanian newspapers as well. All of them are printed in Lithuanian. The only exception is the Lithuanian Bulletin, which was published in English. Some of the publications had sections in English or Spanish or Portuguese. Thus, the focus is now on South America. The Brazilian Lithuanian newspaper Mūsų Lietuva has already been digitized. The digitization of other newspapers published in Brazil between 1927 and 1940 has already begun. In 2024, a new initiative has started to scan the Brazilian Lithuanian newspaper Garsas, and the Argentinean newspapers, Argentinos laikas and Argentinos lietuvių balsas. Information is currently being sought as to whether there are archives in South America housing these newspapers.

The digitization of newsletters, magazines and newspapers published by Lithuanians in the DP camps in Germany at the end of WWII is one of the most important objectives of the project. American Lithuanian Cultural Archives, the LRC and the portal contain about 270 such publications. The project has already digitized about 106 of them. Although the National Library of Lithuania has scanned some of the publications, there are about 160 publications, which originals are stored at the LRC or ALCA and which still need to be digitized.