SPH makes 161 years of news digital, searchable

OVER 160 years of Singapore news will soon be available at the click of a button thanks to a new collaboration between Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) and the National Library.

The project, called NewspaperSG, will make editions of the Straits Times from 1845 to 2006 fully searchable in a digital format.

So far, records up to 1982 have been digitised, with the rest due early next year. 10,000 people used the service in June.

It costs three cents per minute to browse the archives in libraries, plus S$1 to print a page, and 50-word article previews are available for free online at http://newspapers.nl.sg.

SPH publications have featured editorials promoting the service. The Straits Times interviewed a tour guide who used NewspaperSG to add background and colour to the part of her tour route that went past a graveyard. The archives helped her find out who was buried there, and other anecdotes.

The New Paper featured a biographer who found out his subject, Singapore’s deputy prime minister Goh Keng Swee, had won a consolation prize in a newspaper limerick contest at age 14 – a tidbit Dr Goh himself probably didn’t remember.

Most libraries in other parts of the world digitise only material older than 70 years, after copyright lapses, The Straits Times article said.

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