The Norwegian Immigration Assoc. has exciting news: Nordisk Tidende is available online

Rigmor Swensen
Norwegian Immigration Association

Nordisk Tidende is now available at your fingertips. Congratulations to all members and friends of the NIA who have made it happen!

When Nordisk Tidende merged with Western Viking, a new entity was born. This new publication is certainly called for with the changing times, and the NIA is an ardent supporter of editor Emily C. Skaftun and The Norwegian American, which reaches out across the nation to all interested in the Norwegian immigration story.

However, the specter that the story of the Norwegian immigrant colony in New York, recorded in the venerable pages of Nordisk Tidende from 1891 to 1984, might crumble to dust on some long-abandoned shelves became a reality when the New York office closed after the merger.

The NIA was founded in 1995 to preserve the history of Norwegian immigrants to the New York area and took the first step—producing Norwegians in New York 1825 to 2000, the Ellis Island millennium exhibit.

With the closing of Nordisk Tidende, a new commission presented itself. It followed that the story told in the exhibit should be preserved as an original printed document. The 21st century presents the perfect format—the computer, the scanner, the internet, the cloud… a place for preservation in perpetuity.

After five years of unrelenting persistence and not a little naiveté, the NIA digitization project has been realized.

At first, flush with the success of the exhibit, the NIA committee “Project Digitization” conceived of it as an easy, if time-consuming, do-it-yourself project. The committee conferred with NAHA, the Norwegian-American Historical Association at St. Olaf College of Northfield Minn., and with Luther College of Decorah, Iowa, but neither source had photocopies of the entire collection. Then the committee looked into the cost. After tracking down companies that could do the digitizing from copies, the cheapest price offered was $50,000.

NIA incoming dues cover only operating expenses, so it was back to the drawing board.

Eureka! In 2013 The Atlantic reported the following:

“The National Library of Norway is planning to digitize all the books by the mid 2020s. Yes. All. The. Books. In Norwegian, at least. Hundreds of thousands of them. Every book in the library’s holdings. By law, ‘all published content, in all media {must} be deposited in the National Library of Norway,’ so when the library is finished scanning, the entire record of a people’s language and literature will be machine-readable and sitting in whatever we call the cloud in 15 years.” (The Atlantic, Dec. 3, 2013).

Nordisk Tidende is a Norwegian-language newspaper. It was arguably the only free Norwegian newspaper published during World War II. Of course, the National Library in Oslo has all editions of Nordisk Tidende.

The NIA contacted Nasjonal Biblioteket in Oslo requesting Nordisk Tidende be included in the digitization program. There ensued multiple negotiations and a number of copyright verifications, but three years later Nordisk Tidende is online.

Here is your story.

Read about it.

To access Nordisk Tidende:
At this time, there is no access to the National Library archives in English (but then again, most of the content in these issues of Nordisk Tidende is in Norwegian, so presumably if you’re looking things up you read Norwegian, right?).

Here are the directions to search for content:

1) Go to www.nb.no (website of Nasjonalbiblioteket).

2) Click on “Avansert Søk” (advanced search) under the search bar.

3) Click on “Aviser” (newspapers).

4) Write “Nordisk Tidende” in the “Tittel” (title) box to limit your search to results from Nordisk Tidende.

5) Write your search subject in quotation marks in the “Noen av disse ordene” (some of these words) box. For example, if you’re searching for a story about your grandmother, Kari Nordmann, use “Kari Nordmann.” Without the quotation marks you’ll get results on every Kari AND every Nordmann. And that’s probably a lot of results.

6) Insert the search dates, if known, in the “fra dato” (from date) and “til dato” (to date) fields. This is optional.

7) Click “Søk” or hit enter to run the search.

This article originally appeared in the Feb. 10, 2017, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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