THE BRITISH LIBRARY

The Newsroom

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

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19 September 2014

St Pancras Intelligencer no. 34

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Your blogger has been away on his holidays, now returned refreshed, so this edition of the St Pancras Intelligencer is a leisurely look back at some of the news items about news that caught our eye over the past three weeks.

Scottishsun

Newspaper front pages show a divided Scotland: Mashable collects the memorable newspaper front pages from Thursday 18 September 2014, the day of the Scottish independence referendum.

Yes comes out on top amid more than 7 million tweets on #indyref, Twitter reveals: And demonstrating the limited value of using Twitter as a gauge of overall public opinion, The Drum reveals that pro-Scottish Independence came out on top according to social media.

Source confidentiality is 'in peril' and needs 'urgent action' to combat state spying: Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian, came to the British Library and spoke on the urgent need to protect journalists' sources:

This whole thing that's supposedly sacred to journalists about confidentiality of sources is in peril. And that requires urgent action by journalists to make sure they understand the technologies that will enable them to communicate.

Press Gazette reports.

Accuracy, independence and impartiality: A Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism report on how editorial standards are maintained in a digital age, focussing on three 'legacy organisations' (the Guardian, the New York Times, and the BBC) and three digital outlets (Quartz, BuzzFeed, and Vice News). 

Designer or journalist: Who shapes the news you read in your favorite apps?: Really interesting piece from Nieman Journalism Lab on who has influence over how news apps look.

Can news literacy grow up?: Thoughts from Linday Beyerstein at Columbia Journalism Review on the "critical-thinking skills necessary to discern what is trustworthy in this churning informational stew".

Here comes the papers: After a year, while we closed down our former newspaper library at colindale and began populating the new store at Boston Spa, the British Library is ready to make print newspapers available again for researchers. Some will be available from end of September; the remainder in November. Our blog post has the details.

Yep, BuzzFeed is building a games team: BuzzFeed is getting into games development, as Techcrunch reports.

How robots consumed journalism: An intriguing short history of the involvement of robots in news production, starting in the 1770s with Swiss watchmaker Pierre Jaquet-Droz who built “The Writer,” a 6,000-part automated doll that could be mechanically programmed to write with a quill. And for robots writing the news now (they're growing in number), there's this sobering Guardian piece: The journalists who never sleep (and one of the programme covered is called Quill).

The newsonomics of the Washington Post and New York Times network wars: Ken Doctor at Nieman Journalism Lab reviews the competition between the two titles through digital networks and niche print produts.

Sir Alan Moses says IPSO is not Leveson-compliant but insists that it will be independent: The Press Complaint Commission closed on 8 September, to be replaced with the (ndependent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO). The head of the new regulator tells Press Gazette that it will live up to the first word in its name.

NewsCorp: Google is a 'platform for piracy': NewsCorp has written to the European Commission to complain that Google's huge scale puts newspapers and news sites at a disadvantage.

The death of the political interview: Newsnight editor Ian Katz writes for the Financial Times on how the political interview has gone wrong and what might be done to change things:

The dizzying decline of Britain’s local newspapers: do you want the bad news, or the good news?: Ian Burrell at The Independent says print circulation figures for regional newspapers suggest they are facing imminent extinction, but sees some reasons for optimism in the rise on online audiences and associated revenues.

How to download bulk newspaper articles from Papers Past: One for the techies out there - software developer Conal Tuohy shows how to extra bulk data for the excellent Papers Past site of New Zealand historical newspapers, and to apply data mining tools to uncover patterns in the articles.

Do people remember news better if they read it in print?: Thought-provoking piece on news consumption, from The Atlantic.

Guardian building Guardian Space at King's Cross: The Guardian is renovating a 30,000 square foot space - Guardian Space - to host live activities at King's Cross. So, just around the corner for the British Library and its Newsroom. Hello there.

 

 

 

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.