JISC Collections is making two new archival collections freely available to universities, colleges and research councils:
The British Periodicals Collections I and II: Traces the development and growth of the periodical press in Britain from its origins in the seventeenth century through to the Victorian “age of periodicals” and beyond. The collections comprise six million keyword-searchable pages and forms an essential record of more than two centuries of British history and culture.
The Burney Collection: Represents the largest single collection of 17th and 18th century English news media available from the British Library. The collection includes nearly 1 million pages from more than 1000 pamphlets and newspapers from the period, including the first successful London daily and first illustrated newspaper all dating from 1600-1800.
Together these archives would cost individual institutions between £50,000 and £90,000 to purchase, but these agreements make them available freely until at least the end of 2013, and have been licensed on behalf of the UK academic community in perpetuity.
The British Library is currently digitising another one million newspaper pages as part of the JISC programme British Newspapers 1620-1900 . These are expected to be realised in the spring 2009.