Established in 1999, ICON (The International Coalition on Newspapers) is a cooperative effort of research libraries and archives to preserve and improve access to newspapers and news resources from around the globe. Core benefits of ICON include:
- The ICON Database of International Newspapers , a union list of information on the hard copy, microform and digitized holdings of foreign and U.S. newspapers held by major newspaper repositories. It is the largest single database on preservation and digitization of newspapers, containing nearly 30 million issue-level records for 175,000 titles.
- Analysis and assessment of major newspaper digitization initiatives, identifying the strengths and weaknesses of various commercial and non-commercial newspaper databases and digital repositories, identifying aggregate gaps and overlaps in coverage and risk factors for permanence and integrity of digital content.
- Preservation reformatting of newspapers of scholarly value. ICON has preserved 56 titles on more than 1,000 reels of microfilm, comprising more than 975,000 pages. ICON brings together scattered holdings of titles to produce the most complete microfilm possible.
- Improving discoverability of newspaper collections. Initial funding from the NEH enabled libraries to produce authoritative bibliographic records for newspapers published outside the U.S., increasing accessibility and discoverability of those titles. ICON assistance to institutions with premiere collections of unique print and microform holdings added nearly 3,000 high-quality bibliographic and/or holdings records to national catalogs and the ICON database.
- Digitized reference resources. In addition to basic bibliographic information, ICON delivers key reference works relating to newspapers from various world regions. In 2006, ICON digitized such seminal works as The Black Press in South Africa (Switzer), Latin American Newspapers in the United States… (Charno), and Colonial British Caribbean Newspapers (Pactor).
ICON was originally established by 13 charter members. Funding and support for ICON has come from CRL, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Additional funding and in-kind support is provided by the Library of Congress, British Library, Library and Archives Canada, and a host of other North American repositories.