Researchers of racing’s history have been spoiled for choice over the last couple of years: The entire New York Times archive going back to 1851 is digitized and online, much of it for free, more of it available to subscribers or for a fee. Equibase offers free access to charts going back to 1991. The Sports Illustrated Vault contains free access of that magazine’s articles going back to the 1950’s. And the University of Kentucky and Keeneland Library have been painstakingly creating a digital, searchable archive of the Daily Racing Form back to 1896, also available completely for free.
At least…until recently. If you’ve visited the DRF archive recently, you’ve read the following, dated May 22:
Site is temporarily offline: 1950s-1991
The Kentucky Digital Library has taken part of the DRF Archive offline. 1896 through the 1940s are available at this time. We will post notice when the restricted content goes back online.
The name of the project is “Partnering to Preserve Racing’s Rich History,” and among those partners are the users of the site. I’ve previously encouraged people to donate to the project; each page of digital reproduction costs about $1, and approximately $10 million is needed to get the full archive on-line.
But what I’m asking today is absolutely free and will take just a few minutes of your time. If you use the DRF archive, and if you value, contact the help desk at firstname.lastname@example.org and let them know that you miss it. Your input will convey to the University of Kentucky how valuable this resource is, how essential it is, and that its presence really matters. Your input will encourage Kentucky Digital Library to sort out the problems it has encountered and get the archive back on-line.