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The Australian Newspapers Digitisation Program: Using Digital Technologies to unlock history for researchers. 2007
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The Australian Newspapers Digitisation Program: Using Digital Technologies to unlock history for researchers. 2007



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  • 1. Using Digital Technologies to unlock history for researchers. Rose Holley – Manager Newspaper Digitisation Program Australian Academy of the Humanities Symposium: Humanities Futures 16 November 2007, Griffith University, Brisbane
  • 2. Status of the Program
    • November 2006 Minister for Arts and Sports approval
    • Budget approval -$8 million for 3 million pages over 4 years
    • Signed contracts with digitisation suppliers
    • April 2007 program pilot phase commences
  • 3. Process in brief
    • National sourcing of selected newspaper microfilm masters.
    • Masters scanned by W & F Pascoe, Sydney to tiff files.
    • NLA perform quality assurance, add metadata.
    • Apex Publishing, India process tiff files - OCR, zoning, xml markup.
    • NLA QA files, ingest to system, create derivatives for delivery.
  • 4. Content and Coverage
    • National Content
    • Initially a title from each state
    • Focus on major titles from each state first
    • Anticipated that ‘regional’ titles may be contributed later
    • Coverage: published between 1803 – 1954
    • (out of copyright)
    West Australian Northern Territory Times Courier Mail Advertiser Sydney Gazette Argus Mercury Canberra Times
  • 5. First Newspaper
    • First page of first Australian newspaper ever published
    • The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser
    • Saturday March 5 1803
  • 6. Through 150 years
    • Up to 1954 (when Copyright applies), and later if agreement with publishers.
    • The Argus 22 August 1945
  • 7. Progress
    • IT Infrastructure implemented and software developed (NLA)
    • Pilot phase ongoing: digitisation of newspapers and conversion into full text (Contractors)
    • Development of search and delivery system (NLA)
  • 8. Digital Newspaper Searching
    • Newspapers full text searchable
    • Image captions searchable
    • Search across multiple papers e.g. by persons name.
    • Refine searching by:
      • Date
      • Newspaper title
      • State published
  • 9. Browsing and Viewing
    • Browse papers page by page
    • Zoom in and out of image
      • to read small text
      • to view context of article within page layout
    • Print article or entire page or issue
  • 10. Zoom technology
  • 11. Refine search by categories
    • News
    • Advertising
    • Birth Death Marriage notices
    • Obituaries
    • Editorial commentary and letters
    • Shipping News
    • Arts and leisure
    • Detailed lists, results, guides
  • 12. Search Illustrations
    • Categorised as:
    • Photo
    • Cartoon
    • Map
    • Graph
    • Illustration
    • Captions searchable
    Canberra Times 26 July 1928 page 6
  • 13. Other features
    • Possibilities under consideration:
    • OCR correction by users
    • Personal annotation of articles by users
    • Tagging results
    • Clustering results
    • Searching across other relevant resources (paid subscription services, international resources, other digital resources)
  • 14. Relationship - ANPLAN
    • Website:
  • 15. National Help
    • NLA working with State and Territory Libraries as part of ANPLAN.
    • Libraries suggest titles and dates and provide microfilm for digitising.
    • ANPLAN members and other stakeholders will provide feedback on the search and delivery prototype.
    • Developing model for national contribution of regional newspapers.
  • 16. Keep Up to Date with Progress
    • Website:
  • 17. Questions ??