Our technology upgrade is almost complete

Posted on October 29th, 2013 by Ian

Dear BNA customers,

We wanted to give you an update on progress with our new system for publishing newspaper pages on the BNA website.

At the start of June 2013, we started to make a large scale upgrade to the way that we publish newspapers on the site. This is to prepare The British Newspaper Archive for the next stage in its evolution: it improves the capacity of the publishing system and allows us to add more papers, more quickly. We knew that this work would be complex but had planned to have it complete within 8 weeks and to follow this with a catch up on the backlog of newly-scanned pages as soon as the new process was fully tested. We also wanted to be 100% confident that it would produce high quality results.

Unfortunately, we found a series of problems within the new process and this work took significantly longer that we originally planned. This has meant that for the past few months, the number of new pages we have been able to put on the site has been below our normal rate.

The good news is that in the background, our team have been continuing to scan new material – it has only been the process of putting these papers onto the website which has been affected.

Preparing newspapers for publishing

An edition of the Poor Law Unions’ Gazette is prepared for publishing

We know that for many customers, this lack of new material has been incredibly frustrating, and we would like to offer our sincere apologies to you for the amount of time that it has taken to iron out the problems we’ve uncovered.

We would have loved to have been able to add the new images as planned but unfortunately, due to the issues we encountered, this has just not been possible and for that, we are truly sorry. One of our core promises to you is that we regularly add thousands of new pages, and for the past few months, we have not lived up to this.

We have spent the past few weeks ironing out the final few issues that we are aware of, and performing tests to make sure that the publishing process is robust. We plan to continue testing this for the rest of October and intend to have new pages published at our normal rate by the beginning of November. We will then start publishing the backlog of images that we have built up in the past few months.

Thank you for your patience while we test and complete this work: we are looking forward to restoring normal service shortly, and then moving on to our next milestone – 7 million pages!

The British Newspaper Archive Team

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