British Library to scan 30 years of news

The British Library is about to start a ten-year project which will create a publicly-accessible archive of 300 years of print journalism.

The national library - which is in St Pancras, London - will oversee the scanning of 40 million pages of newspapers dating back to the Crimean war and beyond. The archive will eventually be published to the web by a company called BrightSolid, according to the BBC.

The scanned material will be free to use for visitors to the library, but outside users will have to pay an as-yet undisclosed fee to get at the goodies.

The British Library's archive contains more than 750 million pages of newsprint, but the vast majority of that is taken up by some 52,000 regional newspapers which probably won't be scanned.

Although the project will make public searches much easier, the main purpose of the move is to protect the extremely delicate original newspapers and microfilms which will probably never see the light of day once they are scanned, catalogued and moved to their new home in West Yorkshire.