Historic Newspapers in the Digital Age: Search All About It!, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Historic Newspapers in the Digital Age

Search All About It!, 1st Edition

By Paul Gooding


200 pages

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In recent years, cultural institutions and commercial providers have created extensive digitised newspaper collections. This book asks the timely question: what can the large-scale digitisation of newspapers tell us about the wider cultural phenomenon of mass digitisation? The unique form and materiality of newspapers, and their grounding in a particular time and place, provide challenges for researchers and digital resource creators alike. At the same time, the wider context in which digitisation of cultural heritage occurs shapes the impact of digital resources in ways which fall short of the grand ambitions of the wider theoretical discourse. Drawing on case studies from leading digitised newspaper collections, the book aims to provide a bridge between the theory and practice of how these digitised collections are being used. Beginning with an exploration of the hyperbolic nature of technological discourses, the author explores how web interfaces, funding models and the realities of contemporary user behaviour contrast with the hyperbolic discourse surrounding mass digitisation. This book will be of particular interest to those who want to investigate how user studies can inform our understanding of technological phenomena, including digital resource creators, information professionals, students and researchers in universities, libraries, museums and archives. 

Table of Contents


Figures and Tables



List of abbreviations

Introduction: Search All About It!

Methods for Assessing Impact

User Studies in the Age of Large-Scale Newspaper Digitisation


Chapter Bibliography

1 The Myth of the New

Google Books: The Universal Library Reimagined

The Role of the Technological Sublime

Diffusion of Innovations

Mechanical Reproduction and the End of the Age of the Author

The City and Information Overload

Reality and Remediation

Summary: Waiting for the Paradigm Shift

Chapter Bibliography

2 Digitised Newspapers: Histories, Contexts, Behaviours

The History of Newspapers in the United Kingdom

Issues for the Identity of Libraries in the Digital Age

Existing Research into Online User Behaviour

Summary: Concurrent Discourses of Digitisation

Chapter Bibliography

3 Exploring Methods for Evaluating User Behaviour

Methods for Case Study Research

Quantitative Methods

Web Analytics

Referrer Analysis

Citation Analysis

Link Analysis

Qualitative Methods




Chapter Bibliography

4 Institutional Impact of Large-Scale Digitised Collection

Institutional Impact

Case Study: Using interviews to identify institutional impacts

Implications for User Support

Licensing and Copyright: Dual Barriers to Impact

What Role do Libraries Have in an Age of Large-Scale Digitisation?

Summary: Online Access and the Future of Libraries

Chapter Bibliography

5 The Impact of Large-Scale Digitisation upon Users

Users of Large-Scale Digitisation

Case Study: Citation Analysis of BNCN

Case Study: Online Survey of Users of Digitised Newspapers

Changing Models of User Behaviour

Case Study: Web Log Analysis of Welsh Newspapers Online

Engagement with Users of Large-Scale Digitised Collections

Summary: Where We’re Going We’ll Still Need Readers

Chapter Bibliography

6 "Unequally Free": Mapping Public Access to Digitised Collections

Innovative Technologies, Longstanding Tensions

Mapping the Digitised Divide

Case Study: Mapping the Users of Digitised Newspaper Collections

Inequalities in Access by English Public Library Authority

Summary: The Digitised Divide in Action

Chapter Bibliography

7 Conclusion: Where We’re Going, We’ll Still Need Ranganathan


Access to Digitised Library Collections


The Stakes for Digitised Collections

Open Access

Open Interfaces

Open Dialogue

Summary: Library Digitisation as a Public Service

Chapter Bibliography

About the Author

Paul Gooding is Research Fellow in Digital Humanities in the School of Art, Media and American Studies at the University of East Anglia, UK.

About the Series

Digital Research in the Arts and Humanities

Digital technologies are increasingly important to arts and humanities research, expanding the horizons of research methods in all aspects of data capture, investigation, analysis, modelling, presentation and dissemination. This series, one of the first and most highly regarded in the field, covers a wide range of disciplines and provides an authoritative reflection of the 'state of the art' in the application of computing and technology. The titles in this peer-reviewed series are critical reading not just for experts in digital humanities and technology issues, but for all scholars working in arts and humanities who need to understand the issues around digital research.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Library & Information Science / General