Free Access to History: Don’t Forget the British Pathe News Archive Database

While I was reading the official news release about the soon to arrive Google Video Store I noticed that access to clips of historic events from the UK’s ITN would be available for sale.

Historic, news and educational footage from ITN. This material ranges from coverage of key events in 2005 such as the Pope John Paul II’s death, back to a recording of the 1896 coronation of Tsar Nicholas II ? one of the earliest known pieces of moving imagery.

That section from the Google news release reminded me of another news database that Chris first wrote about in 2003 about for SearchDay. It offers free access (for personal, non-commercial use) to more than 12 million images (and plenty of digitized film) from the British Pathe newsreel archive (1896-1970). Users can also license and purchase higher resolution downloads for a fee. In October, I blogged an update with some stats about how the database has done in its first two years.

If you’re interested in what other people are downloading, here’s a list of the Top 20 downloads. The site also offers an “anniversary finder” to locate material from a specific date.

Postscript: Btw, the BBC also offers a collection of film clips that chronicle UK history in their Nation on Film collection. You can view clips by topic or location.

Also, the American Memory Project has several collections of historic film clips. Still imagery can be found here and in the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog.

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