Update: British newspapers online

I've updated my list of online sources for early twentieth century British newspapers. There are forty new titles, bringing the total up over one hundred, and more years are available for another couple of dozen newspapers.

Most of the new titles are from the British Newspaper Archive (BNA), which now has a very helpful list of all newspapers they have along with the range of years available. But I've noticed that those ranges are misleading because the years in between the start and end dates have not necessarily all been digitised. So the BNA describes Taunton Courier, and Western Advertiser, one of the new titles, as being available for the years 1833 to 1949. But the only years actually available after 1900 are 1947, 1948, and 1949 (the rest will be added in due course). It's probably difficult to display information about gaps in the coverage without cluttering up the page and making it harder to use (and I do exactly the same on my list), but perhaps they could take another leaf out of Trove's book and put a little histogram on every newspaper's page to show what's available.

On the basis that Ireland was part of the United Kingdom until 1922, I've added titles from Irish Newspaper Archive (or Archives, depending on where on the front page you look), where coverage overlaps the period 1901-1922. This is a pay site, but it includes the only new free newspaper archive on my list, the Kildare Observer (nice one, Kildare County Council!) Seems like a good interface for both searching and browsing; my only criticism is that there doesn't seem to be any way to view the OCRed text alongside the image of the original article.

Unfortunately there is very little new to report from NewspaperARCHIVE.com. There is only one new title (though, unusually, it's a London suburban newspaper, the Edmonton and Tottenham Weekly Guardian). Moreover, the coverage of titles already in the database appears not to have increased. With the clunky interface and the atrocious curation (two thirds of the sixty-odd British titles available for the twentieth century turn out to be from different centuries altogether!) it has little to recommend it -- unless you need one of the specific titles that it does have, such as the Daily Mail.

The other major source is ukpressonline. New there (or at least what I hadn't noticed before) are the Church Times for 1939-45 (more is promised) and Fascist Week, an early BUF publication. Sadly neither of these are part of the Second World War package, despite falling within its period (1933-45). But at least that package now includes a nearly complete run of the Daily Worker, which it didn't before. What's more, and this is unique in my experience, for at least some of that run there is a copy of all of each day's editions: the first one, which is the only one which is usually archived; the late edition; the late London edition; the late extra edition. This could be really useful as stories in the earlier editions might be rewritten or dropped altogether as new information or breaking news came to hand. For example, on 7 June 1944, the day after D-Day, the front page headlines move from 'SMASHING INLAND' in the first edition to 'TEN MILES INLAND' in the late London edition, to the rather less ebullient 'DOING WELL' in the late and late extra editions. On the other hand, it would be nice if ukpressonline's interface (which I generally like, though it's better for searching than browsing) had an option to exclude the extra editions, as most of the stories will be the same and you'll get them appearing three or four times in your search results instead of only once.

Where possible, I've also added direct links to the part of the archive site relating specifically to each newspaper; with BNA this also includes filtering by the date range 01-01-1901 to 31-12-1950. Something I need to check is the newspaper's name. I've used whatever each site calls it, but it can change over time. For example, the Taunton Courier, and Western Advertiser was actually the Taunton Courier, Bristol and Exeter Journal and Western Advertiser between 1901 and 1936, when it merged with another newspaper became the Somerset County Herald and Taunton Courier. Something for the next update.

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