“Converting The Appeal-Democrat newspaper archive from microfilm to Digital ReeL has greatly improved the user experience of our patrons. The quality of the articles and photos is incredible compared to the old methods of viewing microfilm, and the full text search functionality allows us to find information in ways previously not possible.”

– Gina Zurakowski | Archives Librarian


The Yuba County Library Local History Archives room strives to be the recognized repository for written and audio materials dealing with the history of Yuba County, California.

A key part of this history is the Appeal-Democrat, the leading local news source for Sutter and Yuba County. The newspaper is a direct descendant of a line of newspapers that dates back to the Marysville Herald, which debuted in August 1850, two years after gold was discovered nearby at Sutter’s Mill.

Gina Zurakowski, Archives Librarian, explains, “We had microfilm for the newspaper dating back to 1849 and the archive is heavily used by local historians looking for Gold Rush information. Converting this microfilm archive to Digital ReeL has improved the image quality of the content and empowered users with full text search to find information in ways previously not possible.”


  • Tedious newspaper article and photo retrieval from physical microfilm and associated reader/printer machines
  • Poor quality microfilm that resulted in difficult-to-read articles


  • 1,200 microfilm rolls converted at BMI Sunnyvale, California facility
  • Staff and public now access newspaper archive online from Digital ReeL browser-based viewer


  • Full text search empowers patrons to search for dates, names and events across entire newspaper catalogue
  • Reduction in staff time needed to help patrons locate articles (saves hours per week)