Friday, 30 May 2014

British Library Newsroom

Following  the closing of the Colindale Newspaper Library the British Library has opened (repurposed) a section of the main St Pancras site as a Newsroom. I had the opportunity to visit during my recent trip and was was impressed by the facility.
Newsroom is used to signal that they have more than newspapers. Web, radio and TV news content are also available.
You enter through an open access area, no pass necessary. Facilities there were being enjoyed by a younger crowd, mostly using laptops, than through the Newsroom doors.
Enter past the security and the Newsroom is on two levels. The lower appears to be devoted to business usage.
I used only the upper level which currently has computer access to a variety of online content including the British Newspaper Archive, you have to register but access is free. There are also full runs of 12 major British dailies on microfilm and modern microfilm readers attached to computers with large screens.
As yet you don't have access to other archival newspaper resources, that's coming next fall but will involve ordering in advance so that the materials can be transported from the modern storage facility in Boston Spa. With the growing collection on the British Newspaper Archive the idea is to have all legacy material available online, something it will still take many years to accomplish at the present rate of digitization. I had to make a trip to Norfolk to view the Yarmouth Mercury.
The Newsroom facility cost £33m but as the British Library chief executive Roly Keating is quoted as saying the newspaper collection "is a vital part of the memory of the nation - recording every aspect of local, regional and national life."
Does the management of LAC, the Department of Canadian Heritage and Minister Shelly Glover not believe the same applies in Canada? Does Minister Glover even care about the state of neglect in which Canada's newspaper collection languishes?

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