April 17, 2018


University of Florida Libraries Digitize Archive of The Independent Florida Alligator

Digitization project provides free, online access to historic issues of the student newspaper

For decades, the George A. Smathers Libraries at the University of Florida have preserved print and microfilm copies of The Independent Florida Alligator, a student-run newspaper serving the University of Florida community. Each year the Libraries receive requests for electronic access to historic issues of The Alligator. As a result of funds made available through an endowment, the Libraries will be digitizing over 100,000 pages from The Alligator archive held by the Libraries in order to preserve the material and make it accessible to the public.

Led by project director Patrick Reakes and project manager Melissa Jerome, the Alligator Digitization Project will provide free, online access to issues of The Independent Florida Alligator. The project is focused on digitizing issues from 1912-2004 to complement the material already available in the University of Florida Digital Collections (UFDC) Alligator Collection (http://ufdc.ufl.edu/alligator).

The Alligator is a chronicle of the student perspective of the University of Florida and life in Gainesville. Phase 1 of this digitization project contains articles about the development of campus, including the construction of many still-standing campus buildings, such as the Florida Gym. Student journalists also dutifully chronicled campus life during the World Wars, the shift to a co-ed campus, and the debates leading up to racial integration. The paper also includes stories about the origins of many campus traditions, student-drawn cartoons, nationally known campus visitors, and of course, the unwavering support of Gator sports teams.

"When we publish stories, we do it not only to inform the public but to remind them of history” said Melissa Gomez, current editor-in-chief of The Independent Florida Alligator. “The digitization of our archives means future members of the Gainesville community will be able to look back and know how the community felt about past events, speakers, and controversies. We're so excited and honored about The Alligator being digitized. Thank you so much to the Alligator Digitization Project team: April Hines, Melissa Jerome, Sarah “Moxy” Moczygemba, and Patrick Reakes. This project is proof that student journalism matters, and it will continue to play a critical role in the community for years to come."

Provided by the George A. Smathers Libraries