Tuesday 23 January 2024

FindMyPast commits to growth of BritishNewspaperArchive holding

Earlier this week, FindMyPast released a press release about its successful partnership with the British Library which, since it was set up in 2011, has seen the digitisation of more than 73 million pages of British and Irish historical newspapers dating from the 1700s.

This resulting online newspaper archive is the largest collection of British and Irish newspapers in the world and includes the Daily Mirror, Liverpool Echo, Belfast Telegraph and Dundee Courier, as well as a trove of other regional publications that are now out of print.

The initial aim of the partnership was to digitise 40 million pages by 2021. This was achieved well within the time frame and the online pagination numbers has continued to grow to the 70m milestone during 2023.

FindMyPast has now announced a commitment to digitise a further 19 million pages over the coming years, all available to explore on any device.

How many additional papers from the island of Ireland will join the database remains to be seen. However, an increase of digitised news pages published in the 20th century has been noted of late, in both British and Irish titles. Examples in the last few weeks include the Ballymena Weekly Telegraph (1997 & 1999); Derry Journal (1991 & 1999); Larne Times (1930), Portadown Times (1998); and both the Galway Observer and Dublin Leader (1964).

It seems likely that more recent editions, particularly those filling gaps of existing holdings, will be the main growth factor. But let's hope there will be some more new titles in the mix, too.

* The BritishNewspaperArchive.co.uk is owned by FindMyPast Newspaper Archive Ltd.