A recent article in the Guardian notes plans of the British Library, working with the commercial firm BrightSolid, to digitise around 40m pages from their 750m pages of their historic newspaper archive.
The article points out that these newspapers form something of a ‘national memory’ but also implies that this is the first time that the British Library has published its news archive online.
In fact this collection adds to the extensive work UK funding agency JISC and the British Library have been working on which includes over 3 million pages from newspaper collections from the eighteenth and nineteenth century. These were launched in 2009. These are already freely available to the higher and further education communities, which can be accessed via their institutional gateways.
Most of these pages are also available to the general public for a small access fee, and have been available via a platform created by Gale Cengage.