Old news is good news and should be accessible to all

Old news is good news and should be accessible to all
7 February 2005

 The National Library of Australia, in conjunction with the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA), will host an International Newspapers Conference – Asiaand the Pacific: Newspapers in the 21st century from 22-24 February 2005.

Newspapers are an unrivalled historical, research educational resource. They take us back to a particular day and time, recreating the politics, events and cultural climate. Even the advertisements, headlines and layout are important timepieces and windows into another world.

National libraries around the world are creating digital versions of historic newspapers and making this rich source of national identity freely available nationally and internationally. 

Major issues to be addressed at the conference include the best way to digitise newspapers so that the content can be accessed through an easy ‘google’ type search and how to preserve valuable newspaper collections into the future.

Delegates will be given the unique opportunity to hear an overview of developments from leaders in the field including The British Library, National Library of Canada, Library of Congress, USA and the University of Texas .

Speakers from the National Library of Australia will discuss the National Plan for Australian Newspapers (NPLAN), a cooperative venture between the state libraries and the National Library. NPLAN’s goal is to locate, acquire, preserve and make accessible all newspapers ever published in Australia .

Jan Fullerton, National Library of Australia Director-General said, “The National Library is keen to embark on a major project to digitise our historic newspapers, which would provide access to one of the most valuable research resources on Australian history and culture. Listening to our overseas colleagues, who are already achieving success in this area, has convinced us that this important national research priority cannot be ignored.”

The National Library collects and preserves the capital city dailies, major regional city newspapers, a range of other country town newspapers, newspapers published by ethnic groups and political organisations and newspapers representing special interests. It also has a large collection of English language newspapers, with a selection of foreign language titles.

A recent survey of the state libraries revealed gaps in at least 164 newspapers printed in Australia . NPLAN will help retrieve these items.

For more information on the conference go to:http://www.nla.gov.au/initiatives/meetings/newspapers/about.html

Media contact:

Yvonne Kennedy 
Director Communications and Marketing 
Telephone: 02 6262 1353 or 0411 753 891
Email: ykennedy@nla.gov.au

or

Julia Dean
Media Officer 
Telephone: 02 6262 1571 or 0400480 205 
Email: jdean@nla.gov.au