The British Library has announced it will digitise over 40 million newspaper pages to create a public archive of print journalism.
The 40 million page archive will come from local, regional and national newspapers dating back as far as the 1700s, and will be digitised by online publisher Brightsolid.
Ben Sanderson, a spokesperson for the British Library, told The Guardian newspaper: “Newspapers are designed to be read once and thrown away, so they're very fragile. This will be the largest mass digitisation of historic newspapers the UK has ever seen.”
The move to preserve newspapers digitally will make it easier for students, researchers and other interested parties to access what will become the largest collection of newspapers anywhere in the world.
The British Library said it would begin by digitising newspapers covering important historical events in the 19th and early-20th centuries, including the Boer War, the Crimean War and the suffragette movement.
The national library currently holds over 750 million pages from newspapers stored in slides or heavy leather-bound catalogues.