Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Historic Australian newspapers online

Check it out (excuse the library pun). It's only just been made available, and is a test site. So get into it and give them some feedback.

Content loses out to funcionality is my initial opinion. Too slow to download, and the window for viewing the scans is too small and annoyintg to navigate around. Must be a pain for those without broadband at home. I like the cleaner Papers Past interface better. There is an American newspaper database which has the same interface (must be the same software vendor) and I find that after about half an hour I've had enough.

However I've been hanging out for a while for this to be made live and really, it is an awesome resource. It sure as hell beats taking trips to the few libraries that hold this stuff and requesting from the stacks, or getting tunnel vision from microfilm. Can't wait for more content to come up!

Search is always a bit dodgy on these newspaper databases though, as the OCR for the older papers in particular is erratic at best. This is because of bleeding inks and cramped and not very clear typefaces. Hard and time consuming to police Therefore browsing is a must if you want to be sure you've got everything.

Contact them to volunteer to correct the text.

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