You know, I’ve been covering Internet research and data collections for over a dozen years now, and I had no idea I was going to turn into such an old newspaper fan. Recently I was mesmerized by an incredible collection of digitized newspapers in Wyoming, and now I’m gaga for British Newspapers 1800-1900, at http://newspapers.bl.uk/blcs/.
There’s a lot to be gaga for! The site has over two million pages of 19th century newspapers with almost 50 titles. They’re searchable by keyword. You can search for free and get a few articles for free, but for the most part you’ll have to pay; a 24-hour pass (good for up to 100 articles) for £6.99 or a 7-day pass (up to 200 articles) for £9.99. (A pound is about $1.63 USD at the moment.)
There’s a basic search that allows you to search by keyword, date, and publication, or you can use this giant advanced search that lets you search by title, section, publication frequency, or even language. I did a basic keyword search for smithy and got over 17,000 results, but I couldn’t see them because you have to pay to access articles. Thankfully there’s a checkbox that allows you to search for just free content. (Other ways to refine search include narrowing by newspaper section or article type, and by searching within results.)
Searching for just free content found me 73 results, with search results including the title of the article and publication, as well as the date, page, and even the word count. From the search results you can browse the article or the whole issue if you like.
I decided to look at an article called “The Post in the Snow” and got an illustrated article from February 18, 1865, discussing both heavy snow and delivering mail in all kinds of conditions. The illustrations were a bit difficult to see but the article itself was easy to read. A nav at the top lets you page through as well as search within the article and zoom in on the page holding the article.
Now of course I’d like it if everything was free, but there is some free content here and the access prices
aren’t too bad at all. An educational browse!