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British Newspaper Archive publishes your 18th century news today

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The British Newspaper Archive has launched a website with millions of digitized newspaper pages available to subscribers for online viewing. Access costs from £6.95 for two days to £79.95 for a full year.

ipad newspaper
ipad newspaper

Millions of pages from historical British newspapers have been digitized and made available to view online, in a partnership between online publisher Brightsolid and the British Library. The British Newspaper Archive website currently hosts over three million pages, and the plan is to scan up to 40 million pages over the next decade. The archive mostly covers the 18th and 19th centuries — subscribers to the service will be able to read articles on everything from the Crimean War and the wedding of Victoria and Albert to advertisements for baldness elixirs. Times clearly haven't changed all that much.

The British Library's team has been scanning thousands of images every day, straight from the original bound pages, and using OCR to make the archive searchable. It sounds like a pretty mammoth endeavor that warrants the necessary subscription fee to read the actual pages — prices range from £6.95 for 2 days of access to £79.95 for a year's worth. For comparison, the New York Times includes generous access to its archive with its digital subscriptions to the current paper. It's not cheap, but nonetheless a pretty good deal for researchers compared to the cost and effort of making their way to London and manually sorting through the physical papers. Those still willing to make the trip will be able to access the archive for free on-site at the Library's reading rooms in London and Leeds.