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Preserving and Digitizing Newspapers

(from Dick Eastman · July 6, 2015)

Archivists using the latest conservation technology are racing to digitize 300 years of newspapers before they crumble to dust – and that’s just for starters. The Guardian has published a fascinating story about a huge project by a team from the British Library that is preserving newspapers. The article says:

A gigantic robotic vault, the National Newspaper Building in Boston Spa, near Leeds, is the British Library’s high-tech approach to safeguarding what it rather endearingly terms “the national memory” – 750m pages of news, covering more than three centuries of goings-on, as reported in papers across the nation. From political turmoil to humanitarian crisis, murder cases to local marriage notices, it’s all here. And it’s growing. “We’re adding something like 1,200 titles every week,” says Alasdair Bruce, manager of the British Library Newspaper Programme.

Preserving an aging memory is no small feat. Conservators up and down the country are waging war with time itself to battle deterioration of our documents, be it Magna Carta, celebrating its 800th anniversary this year, or yesterday’s broadsheet.

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