British Library’s Premium Newspaper Archive Undercuts Publishers

The Graphic

The British Library is the latest to launch a premium online newspaper archive – its site includes over two million pages from 49 national and local titles dating between 1800 and 1900. Access to everything bar The Graphic and The Penny Illustrated Paper cost £6.99 for a 24-hour pass with up to 100 downloads or £9.99 for a seven-day pass with up to 200.

This is by no means the online online newspaper archive, and may pique the interests of individual operators, which have themselves been digitising their own back-catalogues

Times Archive (also dating to the 1800s) costs £4.95 a day and covers just that title, The Guardian’s digital archive costs £7.95 a day (though wasn’t working for me today) and The Economist launched its Economist Historical Archive, dating to 1843, starting at £1,500 a year.

In a way, the Library – whose digitisation has been funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee and delivered by digitisation vendor Gale – is pricing the individual titles out of the market. Like the library’s real-world reading rooms, the service is targeted at researchers; but there doesn’t appear to be a fee for access to the rooms. Separately, the National Library of Wales recently got a £2 million Welsh Assembly Government grant to digitise newspapers dating back 300 years. Release.

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