As digital reading technology gets better and better, so do the applications for its use. Everything from casual reading to textbooks to specific titles to assist readers with special needs has evolved in an electronic edition.
Now, over 300 years of archived British newspaper articles, some 65 million or so individual pieces, are being uploaded by Brightsolid and the British Library for access by worldwide users. The entire project is expected to take nearly ten years to complete, as many of the newspaper in the archives date back as far as the 1700s; they are simply too fragile to be run through any kind of machinery for scanning and uploading so the process must be done by hand.
Aside from the value of saving and storing these slideshows of history, the digital British Newspaper Archives will be available for use by the public. While browsing is free, tiered levels of subscription will allow users to download pdfs of the articles and save them.
While some of the news items may be of particular interest to historians or fact checkers, this wealth of information will possibly be of most use to genealogists or others who are simply looking for the names of relatives who may be mentioned in any of the local and regional newspapers that will be uploaded through this project.
In an interview with Emma Barnett of The Telegraph, Ed King, head of the British Library’s newspaper collections, said, “People will find this archive extraordinary on both a personal and historical level. For the first time people can search for their ancestors through the pages of our newspapers wherever they are in the world at any time.”