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Library digitizes defunct English newspaper

By Lu Chen Source:Global Times Published: 2013-11-21 22:28:02

Shanghai Library has finished digitizing more than 100 years of print editions from the city's first English-language newspaper, local media reported Thursday.

The library spent four years scanning more than 500,000 pages of The North-China Daily News and its predecessor, The North-China Herald, to make it more accessible to the public, according to a report in the Oriental Morning Post.

"The newspaper covered many historic events that took place in China at the time, such as The Taiping Rebellion (1850-1864), so it has great value because it gives us a firsthand account of history," said a library staff member surnamed Han.

A British businessman, Henry Shearman, began publishing The North-China Herald, a weekly newspaper, on August 3, 1850, the report said.

The newspaper began publishing daily as The North-China Daily News on July 1, 1864. Its last edition ran on March 31, 1951.

Shanghai Library is still working on the database for the scanned pages. As of now, readers can only search the pages by date. The library plans to make the pages searchable by headline words, reporter name and location by the end of next year. The pictures and advertisements will also be included for their historical value.

There were other English-language newspapers published in Shanghai at the same time as The North-China Daily News, such as The China Press, The Shanghai Times and The Shanghai Mercury.

Shanghai Library chose to digitize The North-China Daily News first because it was the longest-running English-language paper in the city, Han said. At its peak, it had a daily circulation of 7,817 papers.

The newspaper cooperated with Reuters for three decades after the news agency opened its Far East Bureau in Shanghai in 1872.

"When people today go back and read the newspaper, they can also see how events were covered from a foreign perspective," Han told the Global Times.

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