Overview — Collaborative Newspaper Digitisation Programme

Every year we invite community groups to collaborate with us in adding more newspapers to Papers Past. Read an overview of the programme and use our tool to help you find out how far your budget will go.

What is Papers Past?

Papers Past is a collection of digitised full-text items from New Zealand and the Pacific that you can search or browse. It contains millions of pages of material, including newspapers, magazines, letters, and parliamentary papers.

Papers Past is used by genealogists, archaeologists, writers, students, professional and amateur historians, museum staff, artists, journalists, curators, and more. The content is easily discoverable in search engines and cited in a wide range of resources, both online and printed.

Papers Past currently contains more than:

  • 160 newspaper titles
  • 900,000 newspaper issues
  • 6 million newspaper pages
  • 78 million newspaper articles

Papers Past

What is the Collaborative Newspaper Digitisation Programme?

Every year we invite community groups or individuals to collaborate with us in adding more newspapers to Papers Past.

If you have a newspaper title that you would like digitised and added to Papers Past then please apply following the instructions below. The cost of digitisation is split 50/50 with the applicant and the National Library.

This programme is currently limited to 80,000 pages a year in total.

Apply for the Collaborative Newspaper Digitisation Programme

You can apply to be part of this programme if you have a newspaper title you want to digitise and add to Papers Past. Read the Collaborative digitisation application guide to find out more about applying.

Application guide — Collaborative Newspaper Digitisation Programme

Applications for the 2021/2022 programme are now open.

Applications close 19 March 2021.

Application form — Collaborative Newspaper Digitisation Programme

How does it work?

You can get into the programme three ways:

  1. Digitise this year: If your newspapers are already microfilmed, they can be included right away — we digitise microfilm because it’s cheaper and easier than digitising the original papers.
  2. Microfilm for next year: If your papers need filming we’ll do that now, and digitise them in next year’s programme.
  3. Letter of acceptance: If your submission is accepted but you need funding, we’ll supply a letter of acceptance you can use to help fundraise for next year’s programme.

Application guide — Collaborative Newspaper Digitisation Programme

What type of material is considered by the Collaborative Newspaper Digitisation Programme?

We consider material that meets the following conditions.

  • Your material will need to meet the Library of Congress definition of a newspaper.
  • Digitisation is easier if the paper is out of copyright, however, we will look at titles up to the end of 1950. If you have a title that is post-1920 and are unsure of the copyright, please contact melanie.lovell-smith@dia.govt.nz.
  • We also prefer to start new titles at the beginning of their runs and avoid gaps if possible.

Get in touch if you aren't sure. We’ll consider all applications.

What happens if I’m accepted?

Successful applicants sign a digitisation agreement with us, laying out the work to be done, timeframes, and costs.

We then bring your microfilms and newspapers into our regular digitisation workflows. Your paper benefits from our economies of scale and over a decade of practice, keeping the costs down.

Once they’re ready, the files go up on Papers Past and into the National Digital Heritage Archive for long-term preservation.

Have a look at the Collaborative newspaper digitisation application guide for more help with your application.

Application guide — Collaborative Newspaper Digitisation Programme

National Digital Heritage Archive (NDHA)

How far will my budget go?

You’ll pay an estimated $0.35 for each frame of microfilm – usually a page. Below, you can work out a general estimate of the costs involved with various sizes of newspaper.

The actual costs will be worked out after your submission has been accepted, and you’ll be invoiced later.

Tell us a bit about your paper and your budget