What makes this project so special?
The British Library's collection of historical newspapers is one of the wonders of the world: it contains newspapers from 1603 to the present day, from both Britain and further afield. There are over 600,000 bound volumes of newspapers (occupying 32 kilometres, or 20 miles, of shelving) and over 300,000 reels of microfilm (occupying a further 13 kilometres, or 8 miles, of shelving). Until now, the only way to view these newspapers was to visit the British Library, and, of course, it was not possible to search them.
The British Newspaper Archive is a partnership with the British Library to begin digitising this huge collection and make it available on the internet so researchers from all over the world can access the treasures within it.
What have we done to date?
Launched in 2011, we have now scanned millions of pages of historical newspapers and made them available online for the first time ever. You can now search hundreds of millions of stories by keyword, name, location, date or title and watch your results appear in an instant.
The initial scale of the project is vast - to digitise up to 40 million pages from the collection over 10 years. Our scanning team are constantly digitising more newspapers, so new pages are being added all the time. Our current focus is to improve our geographical and time period coverage across Britain and Ireland as well as broadening the type of material we digitise. We're currently adding a large amount of material covering WW1 in preparation for the centenary, and adding more depth to our coverage in Greater London and the whole island of Ireland.