The DRF on-line archive needs our help

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 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.





5 thoughts on “The DRF on-line archive needs our help

  1. Uh, your sentiments are absolutely wrong on this!

    These idiots have solicited help from the public in the past, and the public was only too happy to offer old copies of various DRF’s from throughout the decades… ONLY to be told by these morons that said copies would be returned to them in shreds!!!

    Now there is no way that sincere public response to a cry for ‘help’ must be met by such pathetic disregard.

    Sign me one who offered to help but opted not to do so upon learning that they wouldn’t even see fit to return materials lent to them in good condition.

    • Heloise, I can’t comment on your specific situation. I do know that the process of digitizing requires that each page be separated from the original in order to scan it, so perhaps that is what the problem was?

      The people I’ve met that are involved with this project seem to treasure all their old copies–each original page is incredibly well-preserved as it is prepared for scanning, and afterward. I have enormous respect for the work they do on this massive and incredibly valuable undertaking. I’m sorry that your experience wasn’t more positive.

  2. Um, Teresa, you should know as well as I do that old issues of DRF are not ‘bound’ in any (significant) way (save perhaps for ‘bursting’ the pages), and that returning the publication in anything less than its original condition is simply wrong, no matter how you put it.

    When these clowns see fit to be a bit more gracious in their request for “help” from the public, only then will the public be more willing to assist.

  3. Where in the world is this archive now?

    Why did they make promises of big things, and encourage people from all over to assist, only to be unlocatable in 2013???

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