Daily Racing Form

Partnering to Preserve Racing’s Rich History

In 2007, the Keeneland Association and the University of Kentucky Libraries formed a partnership to develop a preservation plan for the Keeneland Association's nearly complete collection of the Daily Racing Form and its predecessor title, The Morning Telegraph.

With funding from Keeneland and research by the University of Kentucky Libraries, a pilot project sampled DRF volumes from 1896 through 1991 to develop the best approach to converting the fragile newspapers into a searchable digital archive.

The preservation process involves separating the bound newspaper books into separate pages and carefully analyzing page order and physical condition.  Some very fragile DRF issues, particularly those from the 1930s through the 1950s, require very careful attention, while some of the earliest volumes and the newer volumes can be prepared rather quickly.

After the physical preparation, a combination of microfilm and digital imaging is used to create the online archive.  Software programs transform the images into searchable text. Today, you can search for names, places, or subjects and retrieve an exact digital replica of the newspaper page on your computer.

UK continues to research different methods and workflows to develop a scalable project to complete the digital archive as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.  The research challenge is to address the unique “look and feel” of the Form, as its physical layout, news coverage, statistical data, and page count evolved from 1894 to the present. What was a simple 4-page broadsheet in 1896 became, by the 1990s, a publication that produces over 2,000 pages a day in many diverse editions serving an enormous audience. UK's research has developed workflows that suit each decade of publication and thereby capture the relevant information at the lowest cost possible.

The University of Kentucky and the Keeneland Association are now positioned to look for additional partners to complete the preservation of this priceless and imperiled resource, one that captures the heart and soul as well as the facts of the Thoroughbred racing industry.

To browse the online DRF archive, go to www.keeneland.com/drfarchives

Take a look at the Keeneland Library's project to digitize and preserve its extensive collection of Daily Racing Forms for future generations: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_uzNtdb7Vwk.

Have any old copies of Daily Racing Form or the Morning Telegraph? We may need your help! Learn more!