back to article British Library to scan 40m newspaper pages

The British Library and its commercial partner brightsolid - a division of DC Thomson - are to digitise 40 million pages of old newspapers. The library holds 52,000 national and international titles covering 300 years. Currently researchers, 30,000 a year, have to go to Colindale in north London to scan through microfilm or hard …

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Wow!

"Currently researchers, 30,000 a year, have to go to Colindale in north London to scan through microfilm or hard copies"

That's a lot of researchers!

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Wow, indeed

A library with a hundred users a day. How do they cope?

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Stop

HD & OCR is key

Lets hope the scans will be of high enough resolution / contrast to be actually readable, have lossless compression on the images and that the OCRing will be usefull/intelegent enough to index with differentiated titles.

Future generations will need to know who ate the hampster.

Gannett

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wut !!

Lol seriously that idea cracks me up !!!!

These people now they have the contract will cut every single corner they can !!!!

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Will they be censored?

I'm not clear on how this works. Will there be any requirement for them to censor possibly libelous comments that have been published in the past? Or for that matter, anything that falls foul of recent cartoon pornography legislation? Surely selling digitized pictures of the then-16-year-old Sam Fox on page 3 falls foul of distribution laws?

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Not censored

It's been a long time since I worked there, but I remember rumours of a reading room at Holborn where they held copies of all the magazines which had been published - including the porn, of course.

I understood you needed a pretty good reason to request access...

Interesting point though - it's a copyright library, so has to hold copies of everything published in the UK. Now the law has changed to make it illegal to view some of this stuff, presumably it can stay in the archive unseen but the moment anyone looks at it, it's an offense. Quantum-state Pornography, if you like. I guess the librarians have to wear blindfolds.

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Joke

Quantum state pornography?

My girlfriend would know all about that. She doesn't know exactly where mine is, but she tells me she knows where it's going.

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Hold on!

Some of that gov money is ours, how about some access to this information please?!

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FAIL

it is for free as well !!

The digitised versions will be available for free to users at the British Library or online via a paid-for website. brightsolid will also use the content on its genealogy sites.

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Great

for me because I work 10 min away from the BL, but shouldn't it be made available for free ONLINE to all UK taxpayers? I mean, if they took the trouble to digitise it and all, they might as well use a fecking ELECTRONIC distribution system.

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Is it really free?

So it is free if you can get to the British Library, i.e. London, but for most people in the UK without easy access to the Library, they will have to pay for it.

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Public Domain

Surely most of this work is public domain. It'd be highly unethical to charge for access once costs have been covered, the BL remains a library with a responsibility to spread knowlege.

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You might be surprised

I was looking up something for my father, details of a story he half-remembered, and Google found the answer in a digitised copy of a newspaper from Melbourne.

The OCR was patchy, but the scan was quite readable by a human.

And I wouldn't want to bet on anything printed in the 20th century being out of copyright, unless I knew when the author had died.

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