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British newspaper archive goes live

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By John Glenday, Reporter

November 29, 2011 | 2 min read

Years of laborious scanning of historic British newspaper s has paid off with the launch of an online archive comprising some three million pages from 200 newspapers dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries.

120,000 additional pages will be added daily to the gargantuan site as it inches toward its ultimate aim of digitising 40m pages in 10 years.

Amongst the reports contained within these pages are stories relating to the Great Exhibition of 1851 plus macabre reports from famous murder trials.

IT firm Brightsolid are collaborating with the British Library on the venture in a bid to broaden the audience for the material – which is difficult to access locked away in the Library’s reading rooms.

It is regarded as the world’s greatest newspaper collection.

Patrick Fleming, head of reader and reference services at the British Library, said: “By making these newspapers available online we open up the archive to people across the UK and around the world, many of whom would never have set foot in our physical reading rooms - but who can now search via their own desktop, accessing thousands of results at the click of a mouse."

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