Now here comes the Guardian and Observer

Regulars will know that we try and keep up with the steady stream of digitised newspapers collections appearing across the world, which are opening up research into silent film (and a few other subjects besides, of course). The latest is the British newspaper The Guardian, along with its Sunday partner The Observer. This article was published recently in The Guardian‘s Media section (with thanks once again to the eagle-eyed David Pierce for alerting The Bioscope):

Every edition of the Guardian and Observer newspapers is to be made available via a newly launched online digital archive.

The first phase of the Guardian News & Media archive, containing the Guardian from 1821 to 1975 and The Observer from 1900 to 1975, launch on November 3.

It will contain exact replicas of the original newspapers, both as full pages and individual articles. and will be fully searchable and viewable at

Readers will be offered free 24-hour access during November, but after this trial period charging will be introduced.

The rest of the archive will launch early in 2008, making more than 1.2m pages of digitised news content available, with Observer content available from its launch as the world’s first Sunday newspaper in 1791.

New reports featured in the archive cover events including the 1793 execution of Louis XVI, the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815, and the 1833 abolition of the slave trade, the first and second world wars and the assassination of the US president, John F Kennedy.

“The launch of the archive will revolutionise the way in which users are able to access our historic content, whether for academic research or personal interest,” said Gerard Baines, the head of syndication and rights, GNM.

“The archive will offer historical coverage to both consumers and academics of the most important events recorded during 212 years of publishing history,” GNM added in a statement.

“With microfilm stock and paper copy in danger of degrading beyond repair, the launch of the archive ensures the preservation of the papers’ legacy.”

Silicon Valley firm Olive Software started digitising the archive in December last year.

GNM chose ProQuest CSA to be the exclusive global distribution partner for universities, libraries and corporate accounts.

Rod Gauvin, the ProQuest senior vice-president of publishing, said: “The vivid and fearless reporting by both newspapers has set journalistic standards not only in the UK, but also worldwide.

“Indeed, globally many rely on the Guardian and the Observer for unbiased, thoughtful reporting on events in their own country.”

Fingers at the ready come November 3rd…

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