THE BRITISH LIBRARY

The Newsroom

News about yesterday's news, and where news may be going

Introduction

Whether you are studying history, politics, society, international relations, economics, media history, sports history or family history, our collections will have something for you Read more

16 September 2014

Here come the papers

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Print newspapers are coming back to the British Library. In November 2013 we closed down the Newspaper Library at Colindale in north London and put an embargo on all access to print newspapers while we began the transfer of the newspaper collection to Boston Spa in Yorkshire, and while we built a new reading room at our St Pancras site in London. The Newsroom opened in April 2014, providing access to our microfilm and digitised newspapers, as well as many electronic news resources. Now we can announce the return of the print - in stages, and with some important caveats.

Newsroom

The Newsroom

The print newspapers are going to be fully available at our St Pancras and Boston Spa reading rooms in mid to late November 2014. From 29 September, however, an initial selection will be made available, which will include:

  • English and Welsh regional titles (excluding 1901–1908 and 1957–1960)
  • Scottish titles (excluding 1900–1960) 
  • Irish titles (excluding 1838–1905)
  • London titles
  • Nationals

The remaning titles will then become available in November. The titles can be ordered using our online catalogue, Explore the British Library, and will be delivered to the Newsroom within 48 hours. The online catalogue has improved information on the titles and volumes held by the Library, and you can track the progress of their requests using My Reading Room Requests. 

However, it is important to note that we are only providing access to print newspapers where there is no 'surrogate' copy i.e. a copy on microfilm or in digital form. That is because the preservation of the fragile newspapers is paramount, the chief reason why we closed down Colindale and opened the £30M dedicated storage facility, the Newspaper Storage Building, at Boston Spa. So, only if there is no microfilm or digital copy will we provide access to the newspapers, something which is now built into the newspaper request system.

Approximately two-thirds of the 60m newspapers that we hold have not been copied onto microfilm nor digitised. Many research needs can therefore only be answered by providing access to the original newspaper, and after a considerable amount of work behind the scenes we are delighted to say that we are ready to start delivering such a service.

Bostonspa

Entrance to Boston Spa

We are also delighted that access to the print newspapers will be not only at St Pancras but in our new reading room at Boston Spa. Here we will provide the same access service at we do at St Pancras, with the exception of microfilmed newspapers and early printed newspapers (17th/18th centuries), which are only available at St Pancras. This means that the same 48-hour delivery time applies, and that no access will be provided to a print copy where a surrogate copy exists (even if that surrogate is accessible in London). 

Incidentally, for those nostalgic for the old newspaper reading desks with their distinctive overhead lamps at Colindale will be delighted to learn that we have retained two of them (with four reader seats at each) for use in one corner of the Boston Spa reading room.

So, in summary, we will start making some print newspaper available from the end of September, and will be able to provide access to the entire collection - print, microfilm and digital - from mid to late November, one year after Colindale closed. Where a microfilm or digital copy is available, we are making that available to researchers rather than the print copy. But the entire collection will be available once more, in one form or another (bar some print titles in an unfit condition). Newspapers will need to be ordered 48 hours in advance; microfilms can be ordered with 70mins notice; digital access is automatic.

There is more information on these changes in our September 2014 Collection Moves News Bulletin (PDF format).

 

29 August 2014

St Pancras Intelligencer no. 33

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Your humble blogger is taking a rest from Newsroom duties for a couple of weeks while he heads off on vacation, so there will be no St Pancras Intelligencer next Friday, nor the next. So make the most of this week's select gathering of news about news, and look out for plenty more from the Newsroom blog on our return. 

Gdelt

GDELT comparison of 'conflict events' in Germany 7/8/2009 – 9/6/2009 (green left of black line) and 9/6/2009 – 11/5/2009 (green right of black line) compared with Egypt (red) - see http://blog.gdeltproject.org/towards-psychohistory-uncovering-the-patterns-of-world-history-with-google-bigquery/

Can computers replace historians?: Rory Cellan-Jones at BBC News notes the work of the GDELT project ('a global database of society'), which has collected has collected media reports of events from sources in more than 100 languages covering a period of 35 years. It is using the data to draw out the pattern of world events with the sort of analysis that would have taken historians years to compile in the traditional manner. News looks like it is the first draft of history after all.

'Daily Mail' solves Internet paradox: Michael Wolff at USA Today looks admiringly on how the Daily Mail created the separate beast of Mail Online and created the world's 'most-trafficked' English-language newspaper website.

Open journalism also means opening up your data, so others can use and improve it: Gigaom's Mathew Ingram (never a week goes by but we don't find ourselves recommending his writings) calls for journalists to free up their data - because it's good for journalism.

How the news upstarts covered ISIS: DigiDay examines how news' new kids on the block, including Vice, BuzzFeed, Mashable, International Business Times and Vocativ have been beating newspapers at their traditional game when it comes to coverage of the rise of ISIS.

Bellingcat

https://bellingcat.com/resources/case-studies/2014/08/22/gun-safety-self-defense-and-road-marches-finding-an-isis-training-camp/

Gun Safety, Self Defense, and Road Marches – Finding an ISIS Training Camp: Talking of which, news coup of the week was undoubtedly Elliott Higgins' kickstarter-funded citizen journalism site, Bellingcat, which showed how to identify the location of an ISIS training camp using Google Earth and Bing Maps.

Can the UK’s broadcast news providers keep doing more for less?: Former ITN chief turned journalism academic Stewart Purvis looks at the struggles broadcasters have, caught between the demans of innovation and tradition:

At the opposite ends of the scale are the traditional TV news audience, predominantly over 55 years of age, and the 16-34 audience which is converting to or adopting online news use at a startling rate, especially since the arrival of smart phones and tablets ... whereas daily average TV viewing is currently three times higher among adults aged 55-plus than among adults age 16-34, the ratio is more like five or six to one when it comes to news. In the middle is the 35-54 audience which currently has a foot in both camps but whose future allegiance to TV news cannot be taken for granted.

Vice News sparks debate on engaging younger viewers: On the same theme, The Guardian looks at how traditional broadcasters such as the BBC and Channel 4 News are aiming to attract a generation at home on YouTube and social media. 

Is local TV vanity over sanity?:Media Week looks at how the plans are going for the launch of local television stations across the UK, and doesn't think that things are going too well.

Latestfashions

New Orleans newspaper page, from www.noladna.com

Old newspapers, new value: Printmaker J.S. Makkos writes a beautifully-illustrated piece for The Atlantic about making new products out of old New Orleans newspapers, and reminds us of old controversies about the disposal of surplus newspaper archives and the dangers of keeping only the grey images of microfilm. For more, see the New Orleans Digital Newspaper Archive.

The Times' newsroom set to ring with the sounds of typewriters once more: What fun - a speaker has been introduced into The Times newsroom at London Bridge, which relays the sounds of typewriters, recalling the newsroom of old. The intention is apparently to boost energy levels and encourage journalists to meet deadlines as the sounds of the typewriters rises to a crescendo. Ian Burrell at The Independent looks on, with not a little bemusement.

22 August 2014

St Pancras Intelligencer no. 32

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Welcome to the latest edition of the St Pancras Intelligencer, our weekly round-up of news about news - stories about news production, publications, apps, digitised resources, events and what is happening with the newspaper collection (and other news collections) at the British Library. 

Jamesfoley

James Foley, via http://www.globalpost.com

Here's some of James Foley's finest reporting for GlobalPost: American journalist James Foley was murdered in Syria in an act that has revolted the world. The American online news site for which he did most of his work, GlobalPost, has published this tribute along with examples of some of his work.

View of #Ferguson Thrust Michael Brown Shooting to National Attention: David Carr at the New York Times looks at how the story of the shooting of Michael Brown spread through Twitter to national consciousness.

BBC’s long struggle to present the facts without fear or favour: An excellent, thought-provoking historical overview of the BBC's striving to remain independent and impartial as a news provider, part of a nine-part series by Charlotte Higgins, 'The BBC Report', for The Guardian.

In depth: The 64 UK journalists arrested and/or charged following the News of the World hacking scandal: An astonishing line-up provided by Press Gazette.

Last call: Clay Shirky writes the obituary of the printed newspaper, and what it means for journalism, for Medium.

Contrary to the contrived ignorance of media reporters, the future of the daily newspaper is one of the few certainties in the current landscape: Most of them are going away, in this decade. (If you work at a paper and you don’t know what’s happened to your own circulation or revenue in the last few years, now might be a good time to ask.) We’re late enough in the process that we can even predict the likely circumstance of its demise.

Bulgarians and Romanians in the British National Press: The Migration Observatory has produced a report on how British newspaper reported Bulgarians and Romanians leading up to the lifting of temporary restrictions on the right to work in the UK in January 2014.

Over 4,000 BuzzFeed posts have completely disappears: Gawker reports with alarm that BuzzFeed has deleted many post from its site. In an interview with Slate, BuzzFeed boss Jonah Peretti explains why (they were "technically broken, not sourced to our current standards, not worth improving or saving because the content isn’t very good") and says it's because they were originally a tech company not a journalistic one, though they are a journalistic one now.

Ferguson

Snapnews

The weird new future of news: New York-based discussion site The Awl reports that NowThisNews is looking to place its fleeting news reports to the apps of others. It reproduces some alarming examples of what a 90-second news briefing from NowThis News on Snapchat, the messaging service which deletes messages once they have been read, looks like. On the same subject, the Wall Street Journal reports News and ads to debut on Snapchat

The product would let users read daily editions of publications as well as watch video clips of TV shows or movies by holding down a finger on the screen, like they do with photos and other messages on the app before disappearing.

Mathew Ingram at Gigaom reviews this trend towards publishing on apps rather than a brand's own website, arguing that News needs to go where the people are, not the other way around.

The future of mobile apps for news: More on the mobile future for news in this useful summary of the technical issues by Frederic Filloux at Monday Note.

Teenagers and the news game: The BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones looks at how teenagers get their news and the challenge this presents for journalists.

Using Oculus Rift to build immersive news experiences: Wired reports on Nonny de la Peña from USC School of Cinematic Arts, who is creating immersive journalism experience using gaming platforms and virtual reality.

The Illustrated First World War: Illustrated London News Ltd has launched a handsomely-designed website featuring 1914-1918 archive material from the Illustrated London News, with other titles in its collection (such as The Graphic, The Sketch and The Sphere) in due course - all free, thanks to a £96K Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

The Guardian view of the Cliff Richard search: The controversial reporting by the BBC of a search of Cliff Richard's house is viewed by The Guardian as something that could could reopen issues about the police and the press that troubled Lord Justice Leveson.

Google removes 12 BBC News links in 'right to be forgotten: Fascinatingly this includes a 2009 item on the merits of hummus.