Europeana Newspapers – The Historical Newspapers Project

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As an aficionado of historical newspapers, especially those available online, I have been reading some about the Europeana Newspapers project. 

This project is a collaboration between about 30 partners – some are libraries providing digital newspaper collections, some are universities and others are providing technology and technical expertise. All from Europe.

The initial goal of the project – slated to end a three-year run in 2015, is to provide new technology and an initial collection size of 10 million full text searchable pages.

I won’t repeat the details of their activities – they can be reviewed by visiting the Europeana Newspapers site. There are presentation slides, a blog and a newsletter full of project information.

One of the goals of their project is to provide an easily usable interface for users of the new capability. I found the main page of the Prototype to be easily navigated. I did have a question about the interface after you had selected a search result and the manipulation of the resulting image, but it is quite easy to use. And it does have a nice function where you can narrow your search results further after you have completed the search. To me the prototype has a very nice set of features and seems to be state-of-the-art in terms of online newspaper software. They also are promising a way to correct poorly OCR’d text as a future addition. This is a great idea, and unfortunately one that is not available on very many current sites, although sorely needed.

This is a very promising endeavor – and for those of you with European ancestors – definitely a project to watch. Keep your eye on it.


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