Three major publishers of news databases have begun to provide detailed metadata to the International Coalition on Newspapers (ICON) database. The first publisher to submit data to ICON was Readex, CRL’s partner on the World Newspaper Archive. CRL has now received metadata from Gale and ProQuest as well. Metadata provided by publishers includes a complete listing of all newspaper issues digitized for each title, information on the number of pages in each issue digitized and, in many instances, provenance. This development will significantly increase the amount of actionable information available to libraries and publishers engaged in preserving and reformatting newspapers.
The ICON database is freely available online and designed to support collection development and preservation decisions. It provdes highly granular information on newspapers held by libraries in physical form (print and microform), as well as newspapers included in major research databases, such as the Library of Congress's Chronicling America and Readex’s World Newspaper Archive. Users will be able to determine not only which titles are already preserved or digitized, but also to measure the completeness of the holdings of a title in a given repository or database.
As of October 16, 2015, ICON listed 169,737 newspaper titles and over 46 million issues, dating from 1649–2015. Those represent the holdings of over 3,000 institutions, including the Library of Congress, CRL, and the American Antiquarian Society. With the addition of the publisher metadata, ICON will be able to support more detailed analysis of the contents of major newspaper databases, and identify materials that are at risk of being lost.
Development and enhancement of the ICON databases has been supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and by CRL member libraries.