How's the NewsArk?

“How’s the NewsArk going?” is a question often asked when we’re out and about and encounter readers. As I write this (Tuesday morning, 12/3/13) the Indiegogo online crowdfunding site has generated $3,915 - with four days left in the campaign.
During that process we’ve heard some interesting comments. Some people are afraid of using credit cards online or logging into PayPal. Instead they’ve sent a couple hundred dollars in cash and checks.
Others have suggested starting a non-profit publishing venture so contributions would be tax deductible. There were also a few who thought we should break the NewsArk project up into segments - say the 70’s, then the 80’s, etc., rather than launching it all at once.
On the negative side, “user-friendliness” was an issue. There were a few complaints about a “questionnaire” that is required on pages when using the database compiled by SmallTownPapers. Some folks told us they aren’t “social media people” and don’t like being asked questions.
That’s a justifiable reaction to what they looked at. However, those pages are not the NewsArk. The database search pages are formatted the way SmallTownPapers chose to publish the issues they had scanned online.
We decided that choice could be improved and came up with creating pdf files as a solution.
The back issues in the NewsArk have no questionnaires or other distractions. In addition, our files are not just images of a page - they contain the actual text in columns that people can highlight, copy, & paste into other documents. Readers can copy & paste the photos or other images too.
We also received a request from a communications class at the University of Oregon to get involved.  They have decided to take on the NewsArk as a class project next term, examining the best ways to promote it.
Besides that, the Folkways program at the UO has two grad students who want to do interviews with older people in the community and write articles to help us preserve local history.
The funds that have been generated so far for this project will go toward the purchase of new computer hardware and software that will allow us to build up an archive of easily accessible digital files of back issues of River Reflections.
Currently. there are 95 back issues of McKenzie River Reflections saved as digital files on our website. They go back to January of 2009. Our first focus will be to take on the rest of that decade to add issues through 2000. Then we’ll take on the 1990’s, the 1980’s and finally 1978 and 1979. The further back we go, the more man hours will be required to rebuild those back issues.
In other words, this has been an interesting exercise but it will also an ongoing one. After the Indiegogo campaign ends, people can still support the NewsArk - we’ll keep you updated through these pages.
Thanks to everyone for the contributions. We truly appreciate your support.