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Delivering our strategic priorities

Progress against 2009/10 commitments and report
on key funding projects

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The Illustrated Police News, Saturday, October 27, 1888

Transform access and preservation for newspapers

Continue to implement the plan for a dedicated newspaper storage building at Boston Spa and state-of-the-art digital access to newspapers, working closely with the newspaper industry, at our St Pancras site in London

Funding for the newspaper paper storage programme was announced by the former Prime Minister on 16 October 2009. Subject to the outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review, the full business case and funding of £33 million has been approved by the DCMS for a new newspaper storage building, and planning permission achieved with Leeds City Council ahead of schedule. The automation contractor for this dedicated building has been appointed, with design work starting. Preparations for exit of our leasehold premises at 120 Colindale Avenue are on schedule.

The new system for accepting and processing hard copy issues of legal deposit newspapers at Boston Spa is now operating, and digital titles are being accepted into the digital library system as planned.

The British Library’s 19th Century Newspapers project, developed in partnership with JISC and Gale, part of Cengage Learning, was launched in March 2010. This offers researchers greatly enhanced access to a vast archive of socially, culturally and historically important collections previously only available in the Library’s London-based Reading Rooms. The latest addition takes the total number of pages of 19th century newspapers available through the online institutional gateways to over three million, and includes 22 new titles covering a range of both regional and metropolitan publications, such as the Cheshire Observer, the Royal Cornwall Gazette and the Nottinghamshire Guardian.

Following a full EU procurement process, we completed negotiations on a major new partnership between the Library and online publisher brightsolid, owner of online brands including findmypast.co.uk and Friends Reunited. The ten-year agreement will deliver the most significant mass digitisation of newspapers the UK has ever seen: up to 40 million historic pages from the national newspaper collection will be digitised, making large parts of this unparalleled resource available online for the first time. The content will be available, for free, to users in the Library’s Reading Rooms, with copies of all digitised material being held in our collection, in perpetuity.

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