Centuries of newspaper cuttings to go online

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The Independent Online

Millions of newspaper pages will be digitised and made available online for the first time, it was announced today.

Online publisher Brightsolid will digitise 40 million pages of the British Library's newspaper archive, which spans 300 years. The 10-year project will save researchers from travelling to the newspaper library in Colindale, north London, to look at hard copies and microfilm, and will reduce wear and tear on the more fragile items.

The British Library's chief executive Lynne Brindley said: "By making these pages fully searchable we will transform a research process which previously relied on scrolling through page after page of microfilm or print. It will help the newspaper collection to remain relevant for a new generation of researchers, more used to accessing research information via their laptop than travelling to a physical location."

The British Library has around 750 million newspaper pages, including 52,000 local, regional, national and international titles. During the first two years of the project, Brightsolid said a minimum of four million pages will be digitised. They aim to convert 40 million pages as the digitisation process becomes more efficient and as post-1900 content is scanned after negotiations with rights holders.