Google announced last week that it was to cease digitising newspapers which was bad news for those hoping to have access to historic newspapers. They did however while the project was running manage to copy 60 million pages which are/or will be continuously available on their site http://news.google.com/archivesearch
The Murdoch evil empire notwithstanding, the British Library has started digitising its pre 1900 newspaper collection. Interestingly they are doing it with a commercial partner and will be charging for access (once they are online). I hope that they will be making an exception for viewing from a public library, anything else would be unseemly.
You do know that there are other Libraries doing newspaper digitisation work, especially the British Library, but our friends Google also have a large amount of digitised newspapers available for searching. They have been digitising for 2 years now and have a strong collection of US newspapers but have many from all over the world as well.
There is one drawback, there does not appear to be a list of the newspapers digitised. But anyway check out the service at: http://news.google.com/archivesearch
Here is an interesting little thing from The Age of 1963.
Note the wages!
As some of you might be aware, the National Library of Australia has been undertaking a huge newspaper digitisation project. Whilst OCR software has come a long way in providing access to these texts, nothing is perfect. It is, in fact, users of this material that are making the outputted OCR text even better by providing feedback and correcting the OCR transcriptions as they go. The Australian Newspaper Digitisation Program states that “Users have corrected over 2 million lines of electronic text in over 100,000 articles. Over 46,000 tags have been added to articles and many comments about information in articles added.”
There is an article in the latest issue of D-Lib Magazine by Rose Holley, the Manager of the Australian Newspaper Digitisation Program, that covers this in more detail.