British Library embarks on ambitious newspaper digitisation project

By Culture24 Staff | 19 May 2010
a photograph of the British Library

The British Library has announced an ambitious partnership project to digitise millions of newspaper sheets from their Collindale archives.

Spanning three centuries and including 52,000 local, regional, national and international titles, the British Library holds one of the world's finest collections of newspapers.

The British Library will be joining forces with publishers brightsolid to digitise a minimum of 4 million pages of newspapers over the first two years. Over the course of ten years, the agreement aims to deliver up to 40 million pages as the mass digitisation process becomes progressively more efficient and as in-copyright content is scanned following negotiation with rightsholders.

"Historic newspapers are an invaluable resource for historians, researchers, genealogists, students and many others, bringing past events and people to life with great immediacy and in rich detail,” said The British Library's Chief Executive, Dame Lynne Brindley

“Mass digitisation unlocks the riches of our newspaper collections by making them available online to users across the UK and around the world; by making these pages fully searchable we will transform a research process which previously relied on scrolling through page after page of microfilm or print.”

The finsihed project will include news from local, regional and national press from the last three and a half centuries and highlights will include the census years between 1841 and 1911, the Crimean and Boer wars and the suffragette movement.

The aim will be to build a 'critical mass' of material for researchers - particularly in the fields of family history and genealogy.

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