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The nineteenth century internet

One of our clients is the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne, founded in 1813, Its learned journal, Archaeologia Aeliana, started with Series 1, volume 1, in 1822. And I have just been reading it on the web. How come?

Harvard University has a copy, and as it is well out of copyright, it has been scanned by Google and uploaded to the Internet Archive, (aka the Wayback Machine) for all to read.

And indeed, you can have it read to you; a bit mechanically (rather as if Stephen Hawking had taken time off from the day job) but quite a boggling technological achievement (go to read online then click on the loudspeaker icon). Optical character recognition is now so well advanced that something printed nearly 200 years ago can be scanned in and recognised, and then interpreted by a voice synthesiser.

And now the Newcastle Antiquaries have linked from their web site to these resources, so that you can read the earliest volumes of their journal.

I’m impressed.

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