The British Library has joined forces with online publisher Brightsolid to put more than three million pages from some 200 newspapers from 18th and 19th century online.
The British Newspaper Archive allows web users to search for local, regional and national articles covering stories, issues, anxieties and obsessions of 19th century Britain and Ireland. Users can search by keyword, publication or region. Everything from the Great Exhibition of 1851 to murders, strikes and every day life are covered in the newspaper articles on the site. Furthermore, the archive will be added to daily.
Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, Ed Vaizey, said the archive "is a rich and hugely exciting resource, packed with historical detail".
"It's a great example of the public and private sectors collaborating to deliver something that neither party could have delivered by themselves. I searched for my own constituency of Wantage and within seconds had 42,000 results – an indication of the breadth and variety of material featured. I'm delighted that the British Library and Brightsolid are working together to transform access to the nation's published memory."
Brightsolid, which is behind the genealogy sites findmypast.co.uk and genesreunited.co.uk and has previously worked on putting the 1911 census online, has been working with the British Library for ten years on the British Newspaper Archive. In the past 12 months some 8,000 pages of newspapers have been digitised each day and the currently takes up over 500 terabytes of storage space. Furthermore, is expected to hit 40 million within the next 10 years.
"Whether it's researching your ancestors or looking up where you live, the British Newspaper Archive will bring you results at the touch of a button. The 65 million stories available online today are the story of the UK, and we're adding 120,000 stories a day," added Brightsolid CEO, Chris van der Kuyl.