Anyone know if there is a way to obtain the OCR txt files from the British Newspaper Archive via some bulk download API?

Some more details:

This is the British Newspaper Archive: http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/

It's provided in partnership with the British Library according to the footnotes on the site. The site has a service fee to use it and has severe limits on the number of pages you can view per month (3000). I'm wondering if there is an alternative method of accessing the digitized newspapers for research purposes. My thoughts are that perhaps you are just paying for the nice interface and then maybe the British Library has some other way of accessing the OCR texts.

This might be wishful thinking that such an alternative exists. If no alternative exists, it definitely makes you appreciate Chronicling America (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/).

  • Can you provide a link or two?
    – philshem
    Apr 21, 2016 at 19:35
  • 1
    I provided additional details in the main post.
    – LJB
    Apr 21, 2016 at 21:36

1 Answer 1


You are bound by the "terms and conditions" of the service, so if you would be able to download more than the regular 3000 "views" per month, you would be violating the terms of service. With this limit, each page costs you around ~£0.002 that is not so much if you are a hired researcher.

Fair Usage: We have a fair usage policy which is designed purely for the (very rare) cases where people might abuse the service, for example by allowing multiple people to use the same account.

It is deliberately set very high: you can view up to 3000 pages per month. If you go over this limit, we’ll contact you to discuss your usage, but reserve the right to terminate your access if you continue to go over this limit after we’ve been in contact, or if we can’t get in contact with you.


And at last, check this list and see if any of them fits your need: 10 great online newspaper archives

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