“For a microfilm scanning project of this magnitude, a vendor needs to have the resources to creatively adapt to challenges that inevitably come up. BMI delivered.”

– Tim Mitchell | ScholarWorks


From its beginnings as a school focused on training teachers, San Jose State University (SJSU) has matured into a metropolitan university offering more than 145 areas of study with an additional 108 concentrations.

SJSU’s ScholarWorks promotes discovery, research, cross-disciplinary collaboration and instruction by collecting, preserving and providing access to scholarly work created at the university. One archive ScholarWorks offers for free, public access is The Spartan Daily — a newspaper produced by journalism students since 1934.

More than 80 years of The Spartan Daily was not digitally accessible and was only available as aging newsprint in physical bound books and on tattered and torn microfilm. Researching this history was a challenge. SJSU’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications, in partnership with the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library’s ScholarWorks, planned to digitize the physical books and contacted BMI to provide the scanning services. However, BMI presented the alternative of scanning the microfilm archive using their first generation film positives since they photographed much of the original microfilm. This reduced the project price by 75% and eliminated the need to remove the physical archive from the university and cut apart the bound volumes and page scan the hardbound book archive.

Today, all of the legacy Spartan Daily newspapers are easily accessible on the Internet as searchable PDF files. Users can browse legacy issues and search using any keyword (e.g. last name, date).


  • 80 years of The Spartan Daily was trapped on physical bound books and microfilm
  • Retrieval for patrons was cumbersome, involving appointments to a “special collections” room.
  • Lack of indexing made searching difficult for patrons


  • Newspaper microfilm scanning
  • High resolution, searchable newspaper PDFs


  • 75% less expensive than scanning physical bound newspaper books
  • Online web search of any historical newspaper now available via text-searchable PDFs
  • Fast, immediate retrieval using keywords to find articles
  • Newspaper browsing maintained with full issues available as PDFs