20 July 2015

British Library Using Robots to Preserve Newspapers

Newspapers are crumbling faster than they can be preserved, or at least that is how it often feels!

An article, Not fade away... how robots are preserving our old newspapers, about part of the efforts by the British Library to preserve the British newspaper heritage has a Sci-Fi feel to it and yet this technology is in use right now rushing against time ...

A gigantic robotic vault, the National Newspaper Building in Boston Spa, near Leeds, is the British Library’s high-tech approach to safeguarding what it rather endearingly terms “the national memory” – 750m pages of news, covering more than three centuries of goings-on, as reported in papers across the nation. From political turmoil to humanitarian crisis, murder cases to local marriage notices, it’s all here. And it’s growing. “We’re adding something like 1,200 titles every week,” says Alasdair Bruce, manager of the British Library Newspaper Programme.

The article goes on to discuss other preservation elements, the challenges of preservation and digitization and recognition that even when digitization occurs, can we ensure that the digital format will be preserved and accessible!

Kind of reminds me of when it seems for every question I get an answer to, about ten or more new questions emerge ...

Yet, that doesn’t stop us from answering questions nor will it stop entities like the British Library from doing all they can to preserve its holdings for future generations.

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