The British Library has published online more than 4 million pages of newspapers from the 18th and 19th centuries Tuesday in what head of newspapers Ed King calls "a digital Aladdin's Cave" for researchers. The online archive is a partnership between the library and digital publishing firm Brightsolid, which has been scanning 8,000 pages a day from the library's vast periodical archive for the past year and plans to digitize 40 million pages over the next decade.
The library hopes the searchable online trove will be a major resource for academics and researchers. The vast majority of the British Library's 750 million pages of newspapers - the largest collection in the world - are currently available only on microfilm or bound in bulky volumes at a newspaper archive in north London, where the yellowing journals cover 20 miles (32 kilometers) of shelves.
"We've got 200 years of newspapers locked away," King said. "We're trying to open it up to a wider audience."
There will be a cost to download articles online, though they can be accessed for free at the library's London reading rooms.
More at the blog.