NEWSPLAN is a co-operative programme for the microfilming and preservation of local newspapers and for making them accessible to users.
It is an important and successful example of co-operation between public libraries, the British Library, the National Library of Scotland, the National Library of Wales, the National Library of Ireland, and the newspaper industry, working together for the preservation of a major element of the printed record of life in the British Isles over the last two hundred years. For Ireland, some local information on NEWSPLAN can be found via NEWSPLAN: National Library of Ireland. Further information is also available about the NEWSPLAN 2000 Project, the most recent development in the NEWSPLAN Programme.
The NEWSPLAN Programme: Co-operation, Scope, and Developments | NEWSPLAN 2000 Project | NEWSPLAN 2000 Microfilm Orders | Online Access to NEWSPLAN Catalogues | NEWSPLAN Reports | Other Related Publications | Select Bibliography about NEWSPLAN | Further Information
NEWSPLAN is based on ten regions, corresponding to the 10 regional library systems, some of which provide local information about their respective NEWSPLAN projects via the Internet:
London and South Eastern Region
North West Region
An online listing for the whole of the South West is not currently available. There is however a Devon Newspaper bibliography complied by staff of the Devon West Country Studies Library available via the Devon County Council website.
Representatives of the regions, the British Library, and other interested bodies meet together as the NEWSPLAN Panel, with Elizabeth Melrose of North Yorkshire County Library Services in the chair. The Panel, a panel of LINC, the Library and Information Co-operation Council, agrees policy and considers issues and opportunities at the national level.
NEWSPLAN began with Rosemary Wells' 1986 report on the South West region. This report identified the scale of the preservation need relating to local newspapers, arising from the combination of heavy use, fragility of the newsprint medium, and the often inadequate storage conditions in which newspaper collections were kept. The report generated the recognition that tackling the problem was likely to be beyond the capacity of any single organisation, that limited resources could be used most effectively through co-ordinated and co-operative programmes, and that microfilming to recognised archival standards offered the best medium for preserving and ensuring the long-term survival of the newspapers' contents.
This led to the setting-up of research projects in each region, jointly funded by the relevant regional library system and the British Library, and the production of the reports listed below. Notably, the research project for Ireland was carried out on an all-Ireland basis, covering both Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. Its results were published in a single report in 1992, and subsequently expanded and updated in a second, revised edition of 1998.
An implementation committee has been set up in each region to co-ordinate programmes of microfilming in accordance with the priorities and recommendations of the published reports, and to encourage the systematic allocation of resources by member libraries. Many library authorities have adopted a funding formula of one per cent of their bookfund to be allocated each year to the preservation microfilming of newspapers. Some authorities have already completed the preservation of all the newspaper titles in their area identified as requiring action.
Much of the microfilming carried out under NEWSPLAN has been done at the British Library Newspaper Library. It is estimated that since the late 1980s over 14,000 reels of microfilm, each corresponding to a bound volume of historic local newspapers, have been filmed by the Newspaper Library on behalf of NEWSPLAN participants, as well as a similar amount of current local newspapers filmed on a standing order basis. Since 1992, the Newspaper Library has offered a concessionary rate for NEWSPLAN microfilming in recognition of the importance of NEWSPLAN and the contribution which the work makes to the preservation of our own collections. Stress is laid on the importance of microfilming to the appropriate standard to ensure archival quality and longevity. To assist in this, Guidelines for the Microfilming of Newspapers were prepared and published under the auspices of NEWSPLAN in 1994.
Efforts have been made throughout the life of the project to communicate the importance of newspaper preservation and to discuss the mechanisms involved: seminars have been held in the individual regions, three national conferences were held in 1991, l994, and 1998, and a newsletter is published twice a year.
The publication of the London and South Eastern Library Region (LASER) report in April 1996 marked the completion of the NEWSPLAN research phase for the whole of the British Isles. Taken together, the ten reports in the series provide a comprehensive listing of the main files of UK and Irish local newspapers which remain in existence, with information on their extent, gaps, condition, and location. The reports identify what preservation microfilming has already been done and recommend priorities for the microfilming still needed.
In March 1999, a NEWSPLAN Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Award of £5 million was granted to support the work of NEWSPLAN, and in June 2000 John Lauder was appointed Director of the NEWSPLAN 2000 Project, responsible for implementing and directing procedures. Stage One of the project ran from June 2000 to June 2005 and preserved 1,325 newspaper titles. Further information about the Project is available via the NEWSPLAN 2000 Project website.
The trustees of NEWSPLAN 2000 have agreed with the British Library and Microformat UK Ltd. that positive copies of NEWSPLAN 2000 microfilm may be made. If you wish to place an order for the reproduction of NEWSPLAN 2000 microfilm, you can contact Microformat in the first instance at firstname.lastname@example.org, giving details of the title(s) and of the run of newspapers that you wish to have copied. Microformat will work with the British Library to have the microfilm made and shipped to each customer.
The price per reel is £93.47 per reel (excluding VAT). Shipping costs may be added to each consignment.
You can view the titles that have been microfilmed by consulting the listing
Click on the Web version for the region you wish to view, and the full list will be displayed.
The database of newspapers for the East Midlands and East Anglia region provides access to the full bibliographical record and locations of local newspaper titles. It covers the counties of Cambridgeshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and Suffolk. The database allows you to search by newspaper title, for newspapers connected to a particular town or county, or find out what newspapers were published in a particular year.
For Ireland, local information on NEWSPLAN Ireland is available from the National Library of Ireland. The updated Online NEWSPLAN Report for Ireland provides bibliographical listings and locations of extant files of Irish newspapers held in the National Library of Ireland, the British Library Newspaper Library, as well as in public libraries, universities, archives, and newspaper offices throughout Ireland.
There are also extensive bibliographical listings of the newspaper collections - largely Irish but including significant international holdings as well - available as online records for the James Hardiman Library Newspaper Holdings, from the National Library of Ireland, Galway.
London and South Eastern Region:
The database of newspapers for London and the south eastern region provides access to the full, bibliographical records and locations of local newspaper titles, dating from 1717 onwards, taken from the NEWSPLAN Programme for London and the South East. It covers the nine counties of Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Surrey, East Sussex and West Sussex, as well as the 33 London boroughs.
North West Region:
For the north west region, newspaper holdings can be found by using the Lancashire Lantern website. Select the “Advance Search” and then select “North West Newspapers Holdings” as the record type and click on “Search” and enter the name of the newspaper title or the name of a town. The database contains bibliographical details and locations for over 1,200 local newspapers - ranging from Accrington to Wythenshawe publications - in libraries and repositories throughout Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside, and surrounding districts, principally the Isle of Man.
The Northern Region Newsplan Report covering the north east region and Cumbria is not currently available online. A separate listing of the Cumbrian titles, however, can be accessed via the website of Cumbria Libraries.
Information on NEWSPLAN microfilm held by the National Library of Scotland is recorded in the National Library of Scotland Online Catalogue.
An online listing for the whole of the South West is not currently available. There is however a Devon Newspaper bibliography complied by staff of the Devon West Country Studies Library available via the Devon County Council website
The Newsplan Cymru website provides access to a database of Welsh newspapers available in either paper form or on microfilm. The database is based on the Report of the NEWSPLAN project in Wales published in 1994.
The collection of Welsh newspapers in the Welsh Library of the University of Wales, Bangor is one of the most comprehensive in Wales. This Welsh newspaper collections listing provides full title details (including variations), date and place of publishing, background notes, and links to the catalogue entry of the holdings at Bangor University. It is available in English as Welsh Newspapers, and in Welsh as Papurau Cymraeg a Chymreig.
The Newsplan West Midlands database gives details of some 1100 newspaper titles published in the counties of Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and in the Metropolitan Boroughs of Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton as well as in the Unitary Authorities of Stoke-on-Trent and Telford & Wrekin.
The entries include details of the main title, showing name changes from previous and successor titles and giving information on the libraries and record offices across the region where copies of the newspapers are held. The entries also indicate if copies are held by the British Library.
Entries generally indicate whether newspapers are held in bound format or on microfilm. In the interests of preserving fragile paper originals, libraries and record offices will not usually permit access to original hard copy newspapers when microfilm copies are available.
- NEWSPLAN: Report of the Pilot Project in the South-West
Library and Information Research Report, No. 38
By Rosemary Wells
(London: British Library, 1986)
ISBN 0 7123 3057 7
- NEWSPLAN: Report of the Newsplan Project in the East Midlands, April 1987-July 1988
By Ruth Gordon
(London: British Library, 1989)
ISBN 0 7123 0186 0
- NEWSPLAN: Report of the Newsplan Project in the Northern Region, October 1987-September 1988
By David Parry
(London: British Library, 1989)
ISBN 0 7123 0183 6
- NEWSPLAN: Report of the Newsplan Project in the North Western Region, September 1986-January 1990
By Ruth Cowley
(London: British Library, 1990)
ISBN 0 7123 0221 2
- NEWSPLAN: Report of the Newsplan Project in Yorkshire and Humberside, March 1988-June 1989
By Andrew Parkes
(London: British Library, 1990)
ISBN 0 7123 0218 2
- NEWSPLAN: Report of the Newsplan Project in the West Midlands, September 1988-September 1989
By Tracey J. Watkins
(London: British Library, 1990)
ISBN 0 7123 0236 0
- NEWSPLAN: Report of the NEWSPLAN Project in Wales / Adroddiad ar gynllun NEWSPLAN yng Nghymru
by Beti Jones
(London: British Library and Aberystwyth: Wales Regional Library System, 1994)
ISBN 0 7123 0315 4
- NEWSPLAN: Report of the NEWSPLAN Project in Scotland, September 1994
By Alice MacKenzie
(London: British Library, Glasgow: Scottish Library & Information Council, and Edinburgh: National Library of Scotland, 1994)
ISBN 0 7123 0360 X
- NEWSPLAN: Report of the Newsplan Project in the London and South Eastern Region (LASER), January 1992-December 1995
Co-ordinated by Selwyn Eagle, assisted by Diana Dixon
(London: British Library, 1996)
ISBN 0 7123 0487 8
- NEWSPLAN: Report of the NEWSPLAN Project in Ireland
By James O'Toole, revised edition by Sara Smyth
(London: British Library and Dublin: National Library of Ireland, 1998)
ISBN 0 9073 2830 X
All volumes except the first one are available from:
Turpin Distribution Services
Tel: +44 (0)1462 672555
Fax: +44 (0)1462 480947
- NEWSPLAN: Guidelines for the Microfilming of Newspapers
By Jennifer MacDougall
(Dublin: National Library of Ireland and London: British Library Newspaper Library, 1994)
ISBN 0 907328 23 7
- Current Perspectives on Newspaper Preservation and Access
Report of the 2nd National NEWSPLAN Conference held at Durham, 7 & 8 March 1994
(Newcastle upon Tyne: Information North for NEWSPLAN, 1994)
ISBN 0 906433 19 3
- NEWSPLAN, Millennia and Grids: The Digital Challenges
Proceedings of the 3rd National NEWSPLAN Conference held at Durham, 16 & 17 March 1998
(Newcastle upon Tyne: Information North for NEWSPLAN, 1998)
ISBN 0 906433 32 0
£15.99 (including UK postage & packing)
- NEWSPLAN News
No. 1, etc. (1995- )
ISSN 1357 6682
Copies of the conference proceedings and the NEWSPLAN newsletter are available from:
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tel: +44 (0)191 232 0877
Fax: +44 (0)191 232 0804
'£5 Million Award for NEWSPLAN from the Heritage Lottery Fund and other NEWSPLAN News', Newspaper Library News, 26 (Summer 1999): 3.
'LASER NEWSPLAN Survey Results for 1999 and other NEWSPLAN News', Newspaper Library News, 27 (Winter 1999/2000): 13.
'Ministerial Visit to the Newspaper Library and other NEWSPLAN News', Newspaper Library News, 30 (Summer 2001): 1-3.
'National NEWSPLAN Conference', British Library Newspaper Library Newsletter, 13 (Autumn/Winter 1991): 5.
'NEWSPLAN 2000 and other NEWSPLAN News', Newspaper Library News, 28 (Summer 2000): 2.
'NEWSPLAN: A Co-operative Programme for the Preservation of UK Local Newspapers', British Library Newspaper Library Newsletter, 6 (April 1986): 3.
'NEWSPLAN Cymru/Wales', British Library Newspaper Library Newsletter, 17 (Spring 1994): 11.
'NEWSPLAN Cymru/Wales: A Progress Report', British Library Newspaper Library Newsletter, 12 (Spring 1991): 4-6.
'NEWSPLAN Heritage Lottery Bid and other NEWSPLAN News', Newspaper Library News, 25 (Winter 1998/99): 2.
'NEWSPLAN Ireland', British Library Newspaper Library Newsletter, 14 (Autumn 1992): 12.
'NEWSPLAN Lottery Bid Update', Newspaper Library News, 24 (Winter 1997/98): 2.
'NEWSPLAN News', Newspaper Library News, 23 (Summer 1997): 5.
'NEWSPLAN News', British Library Newspaper Library Newsletter, 12 (Spring 1991): 2.
'NEWSPLAN News', British Library Newspaper Library Newsletter, 13 (Autumn/Winter 1991): 4.
'NEWSPLAN News', British Library Newspaper Library Newsletter, 15 (Spring 1993): 8.
'NEWSPLAN News', British Library Newspaper Library Newsletter, 16 (Autumn 1993): 4.
'NEWSPLAN News', British Library Newspaper Library Newsletter, 18 (Winter 1994/95): 4-5.
'NEWSPLAN News', British Library Newspaper Library Newsletter, 19 (Summer 1995): 4.
'NEWSPLAN News', British Library Newspaper Library Newsletter, 20 (Winter 1995/96): 8.
'NEWSPLAN News', British Library Newspaper Library Newsletter, 21 (Summer 1996): 5.
'NEWSPLAN News', British Library Newspaper Library Newsletter, 22 (Winter 1996/97): 9.
'NEWSPLAN Update', British Library Newspaper Library Newsletter, 7 (April 1987): 4-5.
'NEWSPLAN Update', British Library Newspaper Library Newsletter, 8 (June 1987): 2.
'NEWSPLAN Update', British Library Newspaper Library Newsletter, 9 (January 1988): 2.
'NEWSPLAN Update', British Library Newspaper Library Newsletter, 10 (June 1989): 2-3.
'Other NEWSPLAN News', Newspaper Library News, 29 (Winter 2000/2001): 11.
'Second National NEWSPLAN Conference', British Library Newspaper Library Newsletter, 17 (Spring 1994): 1-3.
Margaret Croucher, 'NEWSPLAN Conference 1998', Newspaper Library News, 25 (Winter 1998/99): 13-14.
Selwyn Eagle, 'The LASER NEWSPLAN Project: Reflections on Four Years Before the Masthead', British Library Newspaper Library Newsletter, 22 (Winter 1996/97): 4-7.
John Lauder, 'The NEWSPLAN 2000 Project', Newspaper Library News, 29 (Winter 2000/2001): 10-11.
Ann Matheson, 'NEWSPLAN: Preserving Newspaper Heritage', NPO Journal: National Preservation Office, 1 (February 1998): 8-10.