Historic newspapers are an important source for scientific research in various disciplines, especially in Germany that has always boasted a particularly large number and wide variety of newspapers. The digitization of newspapers on a large scale, the indexing of full texts, and the availability of historic newspapers online are highly desirable. This was described in detail in a master plan presented by a consortium of renowned libraries playing a leading role in the field of digitization within the framework of the pilot project “Digitization of historic newspapers“ funded by the DFG. In addition to a procedural model for the criteria-based selection of digitization projects, it also identifies the need for central access to digitized newspapers, for example in the form of a national newspaper portal.
The “DDB newspaper portal” project is intended to address this need which was identified and specified in greater detail by questioning scientists, especially from the humanities. Its main objective is to develop a portal on the technological and organizational basis of the German Digital Library (DDB) and to put it into productive operation, enabling central and user-friendly access to digitized historic newspapers from Germany.
In its first stage of development, the newspaper portal is to offer at least the following features:
a comprehensive search option for full texts within the digitized newspaper holdings
various browsing points of access
a viewer function that is directly integrated into the portal environment
a consistent possibility to persistently refer to the recorded newspapers or individual editions, thus making them citable
In the medium term, the newspaper portal is to reference all digitized newspapers from the holdings of the cultural and scientific institutions in Germany and to make them available and usable within the scope described above. For the time being, the focus is on holdings of libraries and other cultural institutions as well as on historic, i.e. copyright-free, material.
The newspaper portal is to be realized as a central service which, however, will be based on partially distributed data storage. Nevertheless, users are supposed to view it as a seamless whole, i.e., they have to be able to read entire newspaper editions without having to leave the portal. The uninterrupted operation of the portal is ensured by the close connection to the organizational and technical infrastructure of the DDB.