Thursday, 8 December 2011

British Library scans 18th and 19th-Century newspapers

British Library scans 18th and 19th-Century newspapers

A bit of old news from last week here, about a lot of old news from 200 years ago. 

Some of you may have read that the British Library now has 4 million pages of newspapers from as far back as the 1700s online, with a further 8,000 pages being scanned every day.  A huge selection of historic British newspapers from all over the country are now available for searching on the Internet.  Of course there is a charge to actually view the papers, but the search function itself is free.  This will at least allow for a speedier discovery of articles of interest for, as the story makes clear, one can type in a search term and find the exact newspaper in which it appears in just a few minutes.  Then, if you're not a subscriber (or simply like to leaf through old newspapers), you have at any rate the reference number which you can use to go straight to the 'paper in question at the British Library.

This is good news in a number of ways, from the increased ease of access for people all over the world to the continued preservation of some ancient and in some cases fragile newspapers.  You can of course still read the hard copy at the British Library site, and I wouldn't blame you if you did.  Like so much history it is all the more evocative if you can hold it in your hands.  But this latest innovation does make it quicker to find first.

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