Using the 19th Century British Library Newspapers for local history research can be quite useful depending upon which local area you are interested in. For the purpose of this evaluation I have chosen to evaluate the collection for researching County Meetings in Berkshire. These meetings happened on a regular basis and were reported about in multiple local and national newspapers if there was something worth reporting about.
The collection is an impressive selection of articles which were printed in the 19th Century and include a variety of newspapers of the 1800s such as The Morning Post and The standard. By using primary resources such as newspapers, we can gain valuable evidence of what was being reported on in the news for the general public. This then allows us to decipher what life was like in the period we are reading about but only through the lives seen in these newspapers. However, there are drawbacks to this collection. Upon searching for articles dealing with the Berkshire County Meetings, there were only 24 articles out of 2 million that were relevant. Although the articles have been painstakingly digitised, the actual quality of this has made some of the collection barely readable. To read them in a physical sense may be better but for those who are restricted to reading the articles from a computer screen, this may cause inaccuracy in the research and should be read with caution and the research backed up once physical reading has taken place.
Another weakness of this particular collection is its lack of local or regional newspapers of the smaller variety. Yes there are a percentage of local newspapers included in the collection but it appears that they do not cover most areas. If research relied upon this specific collection for a local study and there were no newspapers that were connected to your area of research then your research could not use this collection. It is only when you delve further afield would you be able to continue...
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