British Library Launches Online Archive of 19th Century UK Newspapers

By Gary Cutlack on at

Local newspapers from around the year 1800 onward have been digitised and stuck online by the British Newspaper Archive, taking us back to the days when front pages were heavier on the text than celebrity gusset photographs.

Over the next decade the plan is to extend the archive to include over 40 million old newspaper pages, with this initial stage focusing on capturing and digitising virtually all local UK newspapers from before the year 1900.

The site creators had access to the British Library's bound archives, which were scanned using Zeutschel A0 scanners in a slightly unnecessary 24bit colour 400dpi resolution. Which might seem a bit over the top for acres of B&W text, but the end result are files clear enough to be run through an OCR process to also create plain text versions of the pages.

There are a few free example paper pages up on the site, but you'll soon be badgered into taking out a paid subscription if you plan on doing any serious browsing -- with fees starting at £6.95 for two days of access and 500 page view credits. [BNA via Telegraph]