Tuesday 29 November 2011

British Newspaper Archive launched today.

Reading newspapers - the old-fashioned way
I wrote quite a bit about the British Newspaper Archive Beta site when it was released a couple of weeks ago, but now that it has gone fully live there are a couple of comments I can now add.

The Beta site had no download or print options, so I have been trying them out. Downloading is easy enough - you just press 'download' - and get a PDF file of the complete page. I found that the quality was generally good, but one or two pages were a little on the fuzzy side, although still readable. I was a bit less impressed by the printing options, though. There doesn't seem to be any way of printing anything other than the full page directly from the site, and since many of the papers are very large, much larger than modern broadsheets, this is not very practical for the A4 printers most people have at home. The way round this is to download the PDF file and then use the snapshot tool to select the area you want. you can buy a high quality A1 size print of any page, but you don't get much change from £100 for one of these (more if you want it framed), so this is for special occasions only!

The other feature not revealed in the Beta test is the cost. The live site offers three options; £6.95 for 500 credits to be used over 2 days, £29.95 for 3000 credits over 30 days or a subscription of £79.95 gives unlimited access for a year. There is no news on institutional subscriptions yet, as far as I can see.

I'm looking forward to having a really good look this evening, but for now the day job beckons. Happy searching.



  1. Good article, I checked it out also and created a blog, fel free to check it out and give me feedback about my site and blog style:

    British Newspaper Archives - Now open! bit.ly/v48WI8 #Genealogy #Blog

  2. One thing that I am still not clear on is the scope, and potential scope of this archive. How will this differ from the Gale British Newspapers collection. They have an 18th century and 19th century collection that I access from the University here in Victoria? Can anybody tell me?

  3. The British Newspaper Archive is much bigger. with nearly 180 titles to start with. As far as I can see it includes all the titles that are in the Gale collection, which is what you'd expect, since the British Library already has the digital images. It will be interesting to compare the results for titles that are on both sites.

    The new site also has some really snazzy features, like the facility to submit corrections, and to add comments and tags. I expect I will keep on using the Gale site, much as I use FreeBMD, Findmypast and Ancestry even though they have a lot of content in common.

  4. I must be doing something strange Audrey because the snapshot tool won't work at all for me :-(
    The file is locked as far as I can ascertain.