300 years of British newspapers put online

London : Around 65 million newspaper articles over the last 300 years were put online Tuesday in a new archive by the British Library.

The “British Newspaper Archive”, made up of four million pages, contains articles from local and regional papers since 1700, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Till now, people had to travel to library newspaper depository in Colindale, north London, to access the entire collection of 200 newspapers.

“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,” said Ed King, head of the library’s newspaper collection.

“But what’s really striking is how these pages take us straight back to scenes of murders, social deprivation and church meetings from hundreds of year ago, which we no longer think about as we haven’t been able to easily access articles about them,” he said.

The archive also features hundreds of letters from soldiers, which were published in local papers as a way of bringing attention to their needs and informing people about life at war.

However, people wishing to fully access the archive will have to pay. Users can also download pages to keep forever.

The digitisation project, which started in 2010, will take 10 years to complete, with a total of 650 million articles on 40 million web pages expected to be in the finished archive by 2020.

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