It’s been a very silent blog for a while now, so it seems appropriate to re-visit the ol’ Disruptive during the Rustly Leaf season by telling you how much I enjoy delving into the British Library’s British Newspaper Archive.
This project is a joint venture between the British Library and brightsolid (people, like my better half, who like genealogy research or “Researching the Stiffs” as I irreverently call it, will know brightsolid as the owners of findmypast and Genes Reunited). There are now over 5,750,000 newspaper pages online, taken from historic copies of hundreds of local and regional newspapers. These include adverts and editorial cartoons as well as articles and letters to the papers. It’s well worth reading the “About” page which gives you some background to the project.
You can search for free and see a list of results, but to view full images you need to register. Doing so will provide you with 15 free credits. Being a British Library site there is a standard or advanced search and help in the form of useful search tips and advice on getting started. In addition there is a My Research facility which stores your searches and allows you to bookmark your viewed items into folders.
Finally (and I know it’s far, far too horribly early to even mention this, but it just came into the cranium), if you get stuck for a Christmas present idea for that friend-who-has-everything, you could try a British Newspaper Archive voucher. They start at just £6.95 for 500 credits (access to view up to 100 pages). Alternatively, you could go for a high-quality A1 framed print of any page of your choosing.
I could go on to tell you about my own genealogical searching exploits, such as the time I found I’d wound my hair into a ‘fiche reader, but that’s another story…