UM students, faculty, staff digitize Kaimin in searchable database

More than a century of accumulated news coverage from the Kaimin is available online in a searchable database, courtesy of UM’s Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library and its ScholarWorks service. (UM photo)

Kaimin is a Salish word that means “paper that brings news,” and since 1898 the Montana Kaimin newspaper has covered the University of Montana with an independent student voice.

Now that 121 years of accumulated news coverage is available online in a searchable database, courtesy of UM’s Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library and its ScholarWorks service.

“The Kaimin is a valuable resource with demonstrated significance and use by the UM community,” said Wendy Walker, UM’s digital initiatives librarian.

“The Kaimin is quite unique in that it is very independently student run and intended to be student-centric. So it is an important historical and current publication that documents the student perspective and the college student experience at UM and in Missoula. There’s nothing else quite like it.”

She said the library’s Digital Production Unit launched its ambitious plan to digitize the Kaimin six years ago. After a few setbacks and thousands of hours of work by UM students, staff and faculty members, the paper’s historical record is now complete.

“The library’s motivation for digitizing the Kaimin was that it would support administrative, popular and scholarly research related to the University of Montana, its people and activities,” Walker said. “We intend to continue adding new issues as they become available.”

UM’s student newspaper started as a magazine that was published monthly during the school year from 1898 to June 1909. It became a weekly in December 1909 and finally a near-daily publication in January 1939. The print publication returned to a weekly in April 2015.

Walker said issues from 1898 to 2002 in the new online collection were digitized from physical print issues held by the library’s Archives and Special Collections. Issues from 2003 to 2019 were supplied as digital files by students in the Montana Kaimin office.

She said the Kaimin archive is frequently used by students, faculty and administrators seeking historical information about campus events, programs and services. It also is used by alumni looking for information about themselves or their peers during their time as students.

The archives are used to answer questions related to the history of campus buildings and grounds, administrators and faculty, and programs.

The new database complements the UM news release database, which can be found on ScholarWorks. Walker said the public now can contrast and compare the UM administrative perspective of topics in news releases with the student-centric focus of the Kaimin.