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Friday, 29 March 2013

Kent newspaper online - South Eastern Gazette 1852-1912

I was following the pre-launch news about this online newspaper resource, and it actually went online a week ago, while I was in Salt Lake City and rather preoccupied with Rootstech. Now I am back I have been able to explore it a little. Earlier reports had suggested it would be free to UK residents, but chargeable if you are overseas. It is part of ukpressonline and you have to register to use the site. When you have done a free search and try to view the full page you are told that your subscription does not cover it, so you have to 'buy' a year's access for £0.00. From here in the UK I can;t see what the arrangements are, if any, for overseas users.

Maidstone, where the South Eastern Gazette was published
I tried out a few searches, and the OCR (Optical Character Recognition) works moderately well, although I got a few results where the highlighted text bore no relation to my search term, and in the advanced search an 'exact phrase' brought some results where the words appear quite separately on the page. The search results also include a short extract of text, which is generally less helpful than you will find on other sites like the London Gazette or the British Newspaper Archive  and sometimes there is no text extract at all. On the whole, the site is easy to use and the quality of the PDF page images is good. I was able to clip and save the items I was interested in. Results are returned in that old favourite 'Relevance' order, but you can re-sort them into date order, and display them as thumbnail, list or gallery view. You can see preview pages, view or save PDFs to your computer, or save them to your own bookshelf within the site. I was pleased to see that you can browse, as well as search. If you choose the PDF view, the text is highlighted, a very helpful feature with these large pages, but a mouse click on the page removes it, so you can get a nice un-highlighted copy.

An early cylinder press
There are other useful resources on the site, mostly 20th century, which you do have to pay for, and subscriptions are available for educational institutions and libraries. Have fun.

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1 comment:

  1. Hi Audrey
    Thanks for writing about this newspaper. I'm in Australia and have ancestors from Seven Oaks in Kent so I am very interested.

    Once I registered I could see search results but have to pay for a subscription to view the pages. For any other Aussies considering using the archive it costs approximately $7.30 AU for 10 days access or approx. $87.50 AU for 1 year.
    Kylie :-)

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