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Last Updated: Friday, 11 June, 2004, 07:46 GMT 08:46 UK
19th Century news going online
Police News
A glimpse of the Police News newspaper
More than a million pages from 19th Century British newspapers are to be put online by the British Library.

The 2m project will cover 100 years of news and images from newspapers which are out of copyright.

At the moment, anyone wanting to look at the texts needs to visit the Newspaper Library in Colindale, North London.

A searchable website with digital copies of the newspapers is expected to be ready in 18 months' time.

National resource

Among the national papers that are expected to be digitised is The Morning Chronicle, a reformist newspaper which employed Charles Dickens as a reporter and W M Thackeray as art critic.

Another likely candidate is the Morning Post, which featured articles by Samuel Coleridge and William Wordsworth.

This means that digital copies will be available for web users who can explore these early out-of-copyright editions in their entirety
Ed King, British Library
Editorials, advertisements and photographs will be archived, as well as news reports, as they are seen as providing insights into the values of British society at the time.

"Newspapers represent our culture in a unique way," said Sir Ron Cooke, chair of Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) which provided the funds for the digitisation project.

The British Library believes the newspapers are an important resource for anyone wanting to learn about life in the 19th Century, as they cover a period when Britain went from being an agricultural society to a global industrial and military superpower.

"The British Library is committed to making our collections accessible to as many people as possible," Ed King, Head of the British Library's newspaper collections in Colindale commented.

"This means that digital copies will be available for web users who can explore these early out-of-copyright editions in their entirety."

The British Library Newspapers catalogue includes entries for over 52,000 newspapers and magazines.

It includes all the national daily and Sunday newspapers from 1801 to the present.

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