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British Library plans to digitise newspaper collection

20th May 2010

The British Library has announced a project to digitise the millions of newspaper pages held in its archive.

In a new ten-year partnership with online publisher brightsolid, which owns Friends Reunited, the library will convert up to 40 million historic pages from around 52,000 local, regional, national and international titles into an electronic format.

Announcing the project at the Westminster eForum, British Library chief executive Dame Lynne Brindley explained that it will improve access to its newspaper archive, which spans around 350 years, and reduce the need for researchers to scour physical and microfilm collections for content of interest.

'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. Mass digitisation unlocks the riches of our newspaper collections,' she commented.

The project hopes to convert a minimum of four million pages in its first two years and digitise the remaining documents within the next eight as the process becomes more efficient.

Last month, the University of Cambridge's Parker Library announced that it has digitised every page in its archive, including rare copies of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and the sixth-century St Augustine Gospels.

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