British Newspaper Archive: 300 Years of News Now Online


Image: Police News - via Telegraph

This is very neat: the British Library, in collaboration with brightsolid online publishing, has digitized 4 million newspaper pages published in the UK since 1800, comprising of some 65 million articles. And they're not done yet: more than 650 million articles and 40 million pages are expected to be digitized when the project is completed in 2020.

You can search by keywords and types of articles, including family notices, obituaries and advertisements, at the British Newspaper Archive. It will, however cost you a money to gain access (you can get 48 hour access for £6.95 or an annual subscription for £79.95).

The scanning process is quite interesting:

Over the past year our team has been scanning up to 8,000 digital images per day from original bound newspaper pages. One benefit of being able to access the original bound volumes of newspapers and periodicals is that, unlike many other newspaper digitisation projects, we have been able to scan some of the rarest and most fragile newspapers in the collection.

We have even scanned single pages more than two feet wide! These publications are now not available for public view or access through the Library's reading rooms; however, they will be available to view on this website.

Our scanning uses five Zeutschel A0 scanners that create very high quality digital images of 400dpi in 24bit colour.

Some of the newspapers already scanned have resulted in single page image files being as large as 400MB! This is due to the very large physical size of the original newspaper pages, particularly around the turn of the 19th century.

Check it out: The British Newspaper Archive - via Telegraph


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The National Library of Australia is doing something similar with Trove (http://trove.nla.gov.au/) they are scanning old newspapers from all the capital cities and many regional areas then they OCR the pages as a searchable resource. The best bit is..... they let us (members of the public) register to log in and correct the OCR text, so if you find an article on something interesting - you can go in and fix up the OCR as well. All changes are tracked, so I guess if you're doing the wrong thing you'd get blocked. Only problem is it's a bit addictive once you start.
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This would be a great data resource if they could OCR the contents of all the old pages.. what a data mine!

I'd love to see stats on crime per population .. I'm wagering we haven't changed socially in a very long time!
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