National Library of Australia Digitizing Old Newspaper Articles


The National Library of Australia has embarked on an ambitious project of digitizing decades old newspapers to be added in a new database which they have named “Trove.” It will be a treasure trove indeed, as it’s not only newspapers that are being provided with a digital makeover, but books and journals as well. Past photographs, too, are being included in ‘Trove,” which means anyone wishing to have an insight into Australia and its people will have a rich source to fall back on.

“It’s now got over 300 million resources available, focusing on Australia and Australians, but the newspapers is the part of Trove which gets most use and has our most devoted followers,” said digital historian at the National Library of Australia, Dr. Tim Sherratt. The project, which began in 2008, has grown to include over “100 million newspaper articles and 10 million newspaper pages.”

“A large portion of the newspaper users tend to be people interested in or passionate about family history. It has certainly very much changed the way people do that. (It’s helped people get) All those details about death notices, marriage notices, all those little stories that just fill-in detail which you wouldn’t otherwise have access to,” said Sherratt.

“There are a number of cases where local history groups or local libraries have actually organized themselves to support the digitization of their own local papers,” Sherratt further added.

Sovan Mandal (2780 Posts)

is the senior tablet and tech corespondent for He brings a international approach to news that is not just applicable to the North American market, but also Asia, India, Europe and others. Sovy brings his own writing flavor to the website and is interested in Science Fiction, Technology and Writing. Any questions, send an email

  • Brian Bianco

    I must admit that there is a lot of truth to what you, MK, have written here in your article, and that hurts to agree, being an Independent author (I feel my peers steely stare as they read this). But if authors who are independent, if they have any sense of integrity, have to (well, they don’t have to) but they should be nodding their head in agreement. I’ve read the stories on John Locke and I’m not happy about it, though from reading the ink on Todd Rutherford that you provided, John Locke wouldn’t give a shit what I thought. What I don’t like is being lumped in with the lot that displays or has no integrity, or even honesty while we’re at it in trying to reach the lofty perch that is supposed to be based on merit and not falsehood. As an author, I want any degree of success I achieve to be based on the merit of my work, not some cooked up piece of tripe that isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. If people want to be writers, authors, then they should act like one and integrity and honesty, along with professionalism is the first step toward achieving it, no matter what we choose as our vocation.

  • Michael Kozlowski

    I totally, agree! I have always been a strong advocate of integrity and taking the long hard road, instead of the easy one. If you are a part time writer, it is all too easy to get lured into paying for book reviews and starred ratings and this will drive sales. Its sad. Your average book buyer may have no concept how many ratings/reviews are staged and how many are legit.

  • Brian Bianco

    In reply to your article yesterday that garnered all the comments, over 200 and counting I believe, there is a solution to the publishing malaise that has hit all authors. I firmly believe that sites such as Amazon are a big part of the problem, if not THE PROBLEM but not just Amazon. What all the online retailers like Amazon are currently doing is accepting all submissions from authors with no guidelines in place and we all know this. Heck, an author can presently upload their own work themselves without proper formatting.

    All online retailers that allow anyone to upload their book for digital distribution should be held to a standard and it’s not that hard or difficult to implement if all parties agree, which are mainly the online retailers, because let’s face it, just as the traditional publishing houses are the gatekeepers for any author who wants to publish their work through them, the online retailers such as Amazon are the gatekeepers to online publishing.

    And this is the solution, or at least, the starting point.

    As it stands right now, all authors who want to publish their work, have to do so through online retailers such as Amazon if they are not tied to a traditional publishing company. Amazon is being used here as the starting point because they are the biggest online retailer of books but the solution has to be adopted and applied to and by all for this to work. (Its called an Industry Standard.)

    1.) In order to publish their manuscript, all authors will have to submit their work to an editor, an editor that has signed on with, whether it be Amazon or B&N or Kobo, to name some of them. In fact, all of the online retailers can and should use the same list for uniformity.

    2.) The editors would of had to submit their resumes to Amazon and the like by following a set of guidelines set up by an unbiased panel of ??? to oversee the editors inclusion on the list of acceptable editors (would have to be in the hundreds or thousands but it would be an excellent marketplace for professional editors to garner work without having to advertise).

    3.) The board should not include the traditional publishing houses. They are the gatekeepers of their stable. Instead, there are enough qualified editors out there who can set up the guidelines for this independent stable.

    4.) Potential authors would then select an editor of their choosing. Once the editorial work has been completed, they can then submit their work for uploading.

    5.) The online retailers would know if their work was properly edited by a professional editor because it would be logged on their site.

    6.) The online retailers would also do all the formatting (digital) because all digital books would then be properly formatted under the rules.

    Problems with editing and formatting are now solved.

    As to the quality of the work, that would be up to the purchaser who buys a particular book and the subsequent review they leave. Again, let’s face it, there are good and bad books marketed by the traditional publishing houses.

    Maybe online retailers like Amazon don’t want to be or get involved but they are involved, up to chins and everybody here knows that too. Their inclusion of everybody who wants to publish a book makes them the biggest problem to standards and guidelines to publishing online.

    So there you have it. You and everyone else, including the traditional publishing houses , independent authors who want guidelines in place. I would support it with no problem because those who want to be authors and who are serious about the quality of their work will be more than willing to participate because they would be paying for these services anyway. They would or should be more than willing because this is the only way they will get their work online with the retailers, the same way that those authors who choose the traditional publishing houses can only get their work published, by adhering to their guidelines.

    For those who are only interested in uploading inferior work or do so only for profit, they will eliminate themselves by not wanting to pay for the services of editing and formatting.

    7.) The Vanity presses would only exist to service those authors who don’t want to follow the guidelines in place but they would soon vanish over a short period of time. Why and how? Because online retailers are the gatekeepers. Without following the guidelines in place, there is no place for these misfit authors to go. They lost and they will be no more. The Vanity presses? They will disappear because there won’t be any customers.

    What if the online retailers won’t go for it?

    You have to approach them with an intelligent panel that knows the issues and this is where one should consider bringing in the traditional publishing houses because it is in their best interest as well as the online retailers because it means their authors will sell more books too. It also fosters a healthy market system of fair competition.

    Digest it and tell me what you think? Is it at least a starting point?

  • Lawrence Grodecki

    I agree with most of the article, but also would reiterate that not all authors pay for reviews, my guess is far from it, many can’t afford it. I know of a few who are literally making themselves sick because of the stress of trying to promote their books through social marketing.

    These people are decent writers, much better than many of the books that seem to sell very well. Basically, with such rapid changes in the marketplace, there is a great deal of confusion. I’m still trying to figure out why Amazon keeps allowing anyone to upload a book, knowing that the vast majority will sell next to nothing. In the long run this may hurt them badly. From a business perspective they are very vulnerable to losing big chunks of share to Apple. Their growth relies on hardware sales much more than book titles.

    As someone new to the scene, I refuse to pay for reviews. Having said that, there is a huge bottleneck, with so many book reviewers overloaded, and not even considering books only sold in electronic format. It’s basically a huge burnout situation.

    Just today I received an email from a book review service, one with significant connections to a very major news blog, and they will give an honest review for $100, and they are now booking for 2014. So it’s not just the authors involved, far from it.

    In a nutshell, how do you take a million new titles a year, and “filter” it? I don’t like to be critical, but there is a very high percentage of indie books out there that remind of the early audition episodes of “America Idol” – the TV show – remember, when so many people fork out $300 for a hopeless audition?

    While I wish it were so, I don’t believe that exceptional quality will surface to the top eventually, not in this environment.

    Finally, I recently noticed a false statement by Amazon, on Amazon. It had something to do with associating the best books with the best selling books. I’m sure it was unintentional, yet they are promoting a mindset that is no longer logically valid.

    For me the saving grace is that potential readers can sample before buying. In my case, that’s about 2.5 chapters, which I really like – by then you either like or you don’t – most do.

    Finally, I have no problem in paying a little money for some PR or advertising for awareness and potential reviews. It seems to be the most logical solution in this environment. Also, from the book reviews I’ve read, many of them seem rather weak, perhaps rushed? I haven’t had any of my own, except for one by a reader . . . since when did everyone become so qualified to write decent reviews, good or bad, free or not?

  • Michael Kozlowski

    Well obviously not all authors pay for reviews, ratings and pay people to download their book. The guy who wrote the 4 hour workout and whatnot gave 1,000 of his books away in exchange for 5 star reviews on Amazon, is this gaming the system? How about trading reviews among friends? What about paying Kirkus reviews to read your book and write a glowing review that you can interject into your book cover? Or, what if people buy reviews in vast quantities? Is there a specific line that can’t be crossed? Indie Authors, there is no ethics, there is no underlying dogma on what is proper and what is not. John Locke gamed the system and sold a million eBooks, no slap on the wrist, he continues to sell, so why not everyone else?

    The main problem i see with artificial inflation is if more people are doing it, it will make quality books harder to find. You will have sub-par books make it high in the ratings, because the authors had deep pockets.

    If you look at it maybe from this way. I am Michael Kozlowski, and i am starting a small eBook only imprint. I want to sign a few authors and have them sell really well, that will encourage more authors to sign up with me and let me get royalties. So, i game the system and pay $10,000 for each book, buy reviews and ratings on 1st day of release. So it gets pushed up the rankings. This should get more people to buy the book, because a new book with lots of downloads and sales, has to be good right? This is good for me, because it gives me bargaining power over future authors I sign. The authors see that 1,000 copies of their books sold in the first few days and tell all of their other author friends. People see me as a small imprint with a good track record of sales from day one, they are impressed. I get more business, I game the system, no one notices, I am small scale. Multiply this by 10,000 other indie authors and 100 small presses and you have a major problem.

  • Lawrence Grodecki

    Ethics? Hmm, as someone also involved in selling art, well, there are reason the HBR doesn’t have any case studies on that industry. It’s not just because of ethics, but also because of an irrational buying process. Actually much of what you are saying has a great deal to do with consumer behavior and so on. As such, the issue is much bigger than just what indie authors do or don’t do.

    Also, I’m pretty sure many of the very successful self-publishers over the past 100+ years would have had plenty of ethical issues to deal with as they relate to the old publishing world.

    I do hope that over time the issue of a market flooded with disappointing content works itself out – the sooner the better. It puts a sour note in what otherwise is quite a phenomenon, e publishing.

  • lorcadamon

    What you’re describing sounds perfect…on paper. What that will eventually lead to is a whole new gatekeeper system. GoodEReader spent a year interviewing indie authors about their experiences, and while some of the books were truly awful, that is just my opinion. The editor-in-chief of this website and I had a playfully heated exchange this week about the book Wool. I loved it, he hated it. If he and I were both editors vetting this content like you describe, it would be a coin toss as to which of us received the book for submission and the book’s publication may or may not happen based solely on the literary tastes of the editor.

  • Brian Bianco

    The role of the editor in this scenario is not to determine if a manuscript is worthy of being published or not published. The point of who ‘likes’ what when it comes to the titles is not up for discussion. It’s the same as saying, I like Harry Potter and Doris over then does not. Independent or traditional publishing? it really doesn’t matter, Both camps produce bad books. The purpose is to make sure the work is edited and the gatekeeper to make sure the work is properly formatted, not to stifle one’s work or the right to heard. If this is at least in place, I tend to believe that most of the bad work would not see the light of day, As for creating a new gatekeeper, that gatekeeper is already here but as of right now, it is the wild west and will remain so until everyone can agree on how to tame it, I think it is a good start, if only to get the dialogue going.

  • Good E-Reader

    Brian, you are a fine man and bang on!

  • Brian Bianco

    Thanks. I didn’t expect that.

  • James Christopher Desmond

    I’m not sure that will fully work. Proper formatting — that’s a uniform standard that can be fairly applied, and yes, that would be quite worthwhile. Good idea.

    But what standard would you use for editing? Reject if two or more typos or grammatical errors show up? Twenty?

    And, are you speaking of “mechanical-level” editing like that, or are you also including things like the John Galt Speech from “Atlas Shrugged,” which the editor unsuccessfully begged Ayn Rand to pare down? Now we delve into the subjective realm, no?

    Still, I encourage creatively innovative remedies for a market with great potential — for a golden pond or just a frustrating cesspool, depending on what the industry does to fix this problem.

  • David Biddle

    This is kind of old news, isn’t it? What’s interesting is that we have this utterly bizarre over-supply issue that is making everyone insane trying to push for more demand. The problem is you can’t really push demand (or pull it). On the e-book side of the equation there are a limited number of readers using e-books. On the overall reader side of the equation, we have a dwindling market — e-reader willing or committed paperbound bookie. All authors are doing is competing with each other for a limited demand. And yet the problem really is that books are competing with PlayStation, ESPN, Reality TV, quality cable shows, and, of course, pornography. We’re also competing with all the blogs out there and all the email marketing subscriptions people have clogging their inboxes.

    So authors (and publishers) do insane things and try to find the loopholes in the “system.” I’m going to predict that the allure of Amazon is going to begin to wane over the next year or two. There’s just too many indie books out there. Certainly for me, who writes contemporary serious fiction I know even if I had a hundred 5-star ratings for my work it’s just buried by Amazon’s miasma of romance, erotica, mystery, sci-fi, thriller knock-offs.

    I think the two most important things any writer can do in this strange stew we find ourselves floating in is keep working on original, honest, artful stories, producing 1-2 books a year. And we also need to advocate everywhere for people to get on board more thoroughly buying e-readers (and smartphone reading apps), finding new sources for quality books, and moving away from their TVs a bit every evening. We’re going to drive ourselves mad chasing a limited number of readers. Fake reviews, reviews by friends and family, advertisements, guest blogs, Twitter campaigns, you name it, there’s a lot of ways to get tangled up in your underwear if you’re trying to get rich quick off of books. Only about 30% of the potential e-reader market is onboard. All authors (not just indies) need to recognize this problem for what it is…

  • Howard Tuckey

    I signed up with Amazon’s “Exclusive” program, and was supposed to get some exposure for my books. Didn’t see it. Offered my books (3 of them) for free for a weekend, hoping to get some reviews, favorable or not, I didn’t care. Didn’t get any. People grabbed them, didn’t bother leaving any sort of review at all. I had lots of favorable comments on them, but most folks didn’t bother leaving reviews.
    That having been said, I’m in no way going to buy ANY type of review. Can’t do that. Wouldn’t feel right.