Page last updated at 12:20 GMT, Wednesday, 15 April 2009 13:20 UK

Historic newspapers to go online

 copy of the Merthyr, Cardiff Guardian - National Library of Wales
This copy of the Merthyr, Cardiff Guardian from nearly 153 years ago carried news of the war in India and hopes of a telegraph between Holyhead and Ireland

Millions of old newspaper reports and magazines articles from Wales, dating as far back as the 18th Century, are to be made available online.

Included in the £2m project by the National Library of Wales will be first-hand accounts from the Chartist march on Newport and the Rebecca riots.

Up to 300 titles will be available at the click of a button by 2012.

Last October, the library began digitising its collection of books, historical documents and works of art.

The initiative to bring old newspapers and magazines that pre-date the digital age to the web will be a great asset to researchers, local historians, genealogists, teachers and television researchers, it is claimed.

But the information will not be available online until 2012 because 2m pages have to be digitised.

Cymru'r Plant (Welsh children's paper) from 1896
Star of Gwent
Cymru'r Plant (Welsh children)
Tarian y Gweithiwr (Working Man's Shield)
Herald y Rhos
Cardiff and Merthyr Guardian

National librarian Andrew Green said: "We are delighted with this announcement, which will take us a step closer to the library's ambitious vision to digitise the entire printed memory of Wales and ensure audiences across Wales and around the world can enjoy the mines of information held in the library's collection.

"Through this and similar schemes already underway, we are responding to the new way in which people want to access information - in their own homes at a time that is convenient to them. This project will build on the already extensive work the national library has undertaken in digitising newspapers."

Last October, the library began a £20m project to digitise Wales' books, art works and documents.

Sound files, photographs and newspapers at the library in Aberystwyth will also be scanned in.

About 200,000 items are already available online, including the Black Book of Carmarthen, the oldest surviving Welsh book.

The British Library also has an online database of 48 newspapers from the Victorian era, including Baner Cymru and the Western Mail.

Funding for the latest project has come from the Welsh Assembly Government.

Welsh Heritage Minister Alun Ffred Jones said: "Whether you are a school pupil looking for information for a homework project or a family historian researching the lives of your ancestors, this resource will offer a unique insight into the social and cultural history of Wales."

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