Newspapers stretching back to the 18th century can be searched for free, thanks to the unveiling of an online resource by the British Library and involving almost four million of newspaper pages.
While free to search, it will cost to access the pages, in the project which involves an online publishing company that began as Scotland Online.
Three payment options are available: the £6.95 for 48 hours, £29.95 for 30 days and £79.95 for a year.
The British Newspaper Archive website features more than 200 newspaper titles from every part of the UK and Ireland, going back to the 19th century and even the 18th.
Dundee-based brightsolid is owned by newspaper publisher, DC Thomson. It began life in 1995 as Scotland Online and includes Friend Reunited and Findmypast.co.uk in its portfolio.
In a statement issued by the British Library, head of newspapers, Ed King, is quoted as saying: “The launch of the British Newspaper Archive website opens up the British Library’s newspaper collection as never before. Rather than having to view the items on-site at the Library, turning each page, people across the UK and around the world will be able to explore for themselves the gold mine of stories and information contained in these pages – and the ability to search across millions of articles will yield results for each user, that might previously have been the work of weeks or months, in a matter of seconds and the click of a mouse.”
Over the past 12 months, brightsolid’s digitisation team, based at the British Library Newspaper Library at Colindale, has been digitising up to 8,000 pages of historic newspapers every working day. The project is expected to scan up to 40 million newspaper pages over the next ten years.