Newspaper archive launched
3:04pm Wednesday 13th March 2013 in News
A highly ambitious project that has made available online hundreds of thousands of pages of Welsh historical newspapers free of charge will be launched today .
The National Library of Wales’ Historical Newspapers and Journals Project is digitising historical Welsh newspapers and journals, some dating back to the early 19th century, using the latest digital technology. The scheme began in 2009 and 600,000 pages are now publicly available completely free of charge.
The Welsh Government has provided £2 million to the £3 million project which is digitising all of the National Library's paper holdings of out-of-copyright newspapers and journals, generally those published in Wales up to 1911 and comprising hundreds of different titles touching all corners of Wales.
The aim is to create an easily accessible teaching and research library for schools, universities and home users relating to the culture, history and identity of Wales.
A dedicated team at the National Library is carefully scanning each page following the investment in a new digitisation studio. The condition and quality of the volumes vary greatly and in some cases conservation work is undertaken before fragile and damaged pages can be scanned.
The First Minister Carwyn Jones said:
“This highly ambitious project is about joining our past with our future, preserving how our nation’s story was told in the printed press for generations to come. People worldwide will be able to search for words, phrases and dates and discover countless stories at a touch of a button that would otherwise only be available in physical archives.”
The scheme will be officially launched by Heritage Minister Huw Lewis. He said:
“I am delighted the Welsh Government has been able to provide £2 million of support to this significant project that will be the largest body of searchable text relating to Wales and will contribute significantly towards the National Library’s vision to digitise the entire printed memory of Wales.”
Sir Deian Hopkin said:
"Newspapers are among the most important sources for the study of the past two centuries and this ground-breaking digitisation project will transform access to historic Welsh newspapers. This is a significant step in realising the Library’s strategic vision to ensure that Wales is the first nation to make its entire corpus of printed material freely availably to be searched and read online, by everyone."