Thursday, 26 May 2011

New British Library newspapers site

@familytreemaguk (Family Tree magazine) has just placed a note on Twitter about a new microsite from the British Library Newspaper Archive at www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk, and has tweeted that the first one million pages of the archive's collaboration with FindmyPast.co.uk will go online in the autumn.


From the site the following is noted about what will be released in the first part of the launch:

The first stage of the British Newspaper Archive focuses on runs published before 1900 and will include titles from cities such as Birmingham, Derby, Manchester, Nottingham, Norwich, Leeds and York, along with local titles from London boroughs.

Newspapers which aimed for county circulation – from Staffordshire to Sussex – will also feature prominently, providing an unrivalled picture of provincial life spanning the whole of the 19th century and supplementing resources already available online such as the UK census.


The technical workings of the database being created will be superb - see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/archive-examples.php for an example of how a record has been catalogued for searching. One hopes though that if this is a British collection, there may also be representation for Scotland, Wales and Ireland in the the first wave also, despite there being no indication of this on the site as yet.

Nevertheless, with 40 million pages on the way over ten years, there will be something for everyone.

Chris

13 comments:

Emma Jolly said...

I use this website at the British Library and can confirm it is excellent. I find many people that I am researching through this site. I am more likely to find people on this site than through The Times database, for example. I have found references to Irish immigrants to London and runaway children from working class backgrounds.

I am very pleased these pages will soon be on findmypast.

Chris Paton said...

Hi Emma, is this site already up and running internally at the BL? Or are you referring to the separate BL 19th Century Newspaper Collection site , produced in association with Gale? The latter is excellent, with four local Scottish titles and two Irish, and definitely more useful than the Times!

Chris

Emma Jolly said...

Sorry, Chris. I am referring to the separate site.

The point I'm making still stands, however, as it applies to local newspapers in general. They are far better for researching our working and middle class ancestors :)

Emma

History Man said...

This is going to be a stunning resource. Is there any information about pricing -presumably it won't be free!

Chris Paton said...

Couldn't agree more Emma, it's one of the few sites I always check for every person and subject I'm researching, as nine times out of ten I get a hit somewhere. The new FMP / BL project will provide about 20 times what the current Gale site does, and will only make it even better!

Simon, on pricing - absolutely no idea! To be honest, I don't even know if it will be available on the FMP site itself, just that FMP and BL are in partnership. When the E&W 1911 census was first launched it was not available on the FMP site, but via a dedicated 1911 site. That may well be the model here, as with the BL/Gale collaboration. We'll just have to wait and see what is announced in due course!

Chris

Paul - Oxfordshire FHS said...

Chris

It's also true to say that a "traditional" FMP subscription does not include the new Irish and Australian sites that are charged for seperately.

What amazes me is how few folks realise that they can log into the Gale newspaper site at home and free of charge if they are a member of a participating library. Certainly, Oxfordshire libraries subscribe, hence I can access the Gale site free of charge at home, and I believe that quite a few other counties subscribe too !

Paul

Chris Paton said...

Hi Paul, hopefully they should do if they read this blog, I've mentioned it often enough! lol :)

It is worth checking which version of the Gale package is available though, as the British Library 19th C collection was released in two tiers, and not all institutions offer the same version.

If I log in for my free access through the National Library of Scotland website (www.nls.uk), I can only access the first tier, which does not include the Dundee Courier as a Scottish example, and several other papers. In comparison, free access through the Mitchell Library (www.glasgowlife.org.uk/libraries/24-hour-library/Pages/home.aspx) allows me access to both tiers, so I can access the Dundee Courier through that site and other English titles. So it is most definitely worth checking which version is available!

FYI for Scottish readers, the NLS site does offer free access to the Times and the Scotsman archives also - hence why I have registered with both the Mitchell Library and the NLS.

Chris

Paul - Oxfordshire FHS said...

Chris

The version available in Oxfordshire includes :-

Dundee Courier
Audience: General
Publication Format: Newspaper
Full-Text Coverage: Jan 02, 1844 - Dec 31, 1900
Frequency: Daily
Language: English
Place of Publication: Dundee, Scotland
Available Issues: 12902

So I think we probably access the "better" version ?

Paul

Chris Paton said...

Looks like it Paul. If you go to the bottom of the home page it will likely show that you have both tiers - the Dundee Courier was in the 2nd tier release.

Worth noting also that the pay-per-view version of the site at http://newspapers.bl.uk/blcs/ only has the first tier - another good reason to check out the local library offering!

Chris

Paul - Oxfordshire FHS said...

Chris

Yep, ours does show both tiers - I'd never really noticed previously !

Paul

Chris Paton said...

Always worth checking the small print...! lol :)

History Man said...

My local library (Richmond-upon-Thames) subscribes to something called Gale News Vault, which includes both tiers of the c19 BL Newspapers and The Times Digital Archives. It seems to be a new service so may be an upgrade of existing services. The quality of the reproduction of the images is excellent.

Chris Paton said...

A possible top tip for anyone unable to gain access!

In Scotland, everyone can now get permanent free access via the NLS website (see http://scottishancestry.blogspot.com/2010/10/national-library-of-scotland-licensed.html). This also includes access to the 17th and 18th Century Burney newspaper collection, and Infotrac for more recent articles.

Prior to this, however, I actually gained access through the Lancashire County Council site. I always thought that each body licensing the collection could only offer it to their own constituency, but they were only too happy to take me on up here in Ayrshire! So if you're down south and your authority doesn't offer it, try http://www.lancashire.gov.uk/onrl/.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained etc!

Chris