Readers urged to get newspaper into British Library archives

People are being asked to vote the Worcester News and Berrow’s Worcester Journal to the top of a project by the British Library.

By taking part in an online poll they can make the newspapers a priority for a team working to make local history research easy for millions around the world.

The library is working with family tree website find my past to digitise up to 40 million newspaper pages from its vast collection over the next ten years.

It is running an online poll asking what newspapers they should tackle next, and voting is open on both the Worcester News and its sister title, Berrow’s Worcester Journal, which is the world’s oldest continuously published newspaper.

The library’s British Newspaper Archive entails scanning millions of pages of old newspapers and making them available online for the first time ever.

People can search hundreds of millions of stories by keyword, name, location, date or title and see their results appear in an instant.

The archive includes news articles that provide a window and daily life decades ago; family notices that give details of births, deaths and marriages; readers’; letters that shed light on contemporary debates, obituaries about notable individuals and people’s ancestors, and advertisements for all sorts of services and products of the day.

The paper's’ deputy editor, John Wilson, said: "We are dedicated to making the stories of local life we have covered over the centuries available to as many people as possible. "So we urge all those interested in local history to visit the

British Newspaper Archive website and make Worcestershire a priority for digitisation." Copies of the Worcester News – a finalist in the 2016

Midlands Newspaper of the Year award - and Berrow’s Worcester Journal are already available for public inspection on microfilm at the Hive library in Worcester. But it takes a fraction of the time to find things in the British Newspaper

Archive compared with the painstaking manual searching entailed with microfilm, or bound volumes of original newspapers.

Researchers can also search on their own computers without leaving the comfort of their homes.

Last year Newsquest (South Midlands), publisher of the Worcester News and Berrow’s Worcester Journal, handed over its most important historical newspapers to the Hive for safekeeping.

Old bound volumes of the Worcester News were presented to the newspaper’s loyal readers for free on a first-come- first-served basis in the knowledge that all the precious information they contained had been preserved at the Hive.