Digital Preservation Initiatives
The Belgian Press from the Great War is a portal to 964 newspaper titles preserved in seventeen heritage institutions. Despite meticulous conservation by these guardians, this paper heritage has become extremely fragile. To preserve its content for future generations and to make them freely accessible to everyone, the periodicals were digitised by three projects: News from the Great War, The Belgian War Press and BelgicaPress.
All newspaper titles and links to their respective digital copies were included in Abraham. Belgian Newspaper Catalogue. While the digitised newspapers reside in three repositories, this online catalogue makes it possible to get a full overview of the titles in the digital collections and in the memory institutions that safeguard the paper originals.
News of the Great War
904 titles – 54,370 issues – ca. 270,500 pages
Coordinated by the Flemish Institute for Archiving VIAA and in association with the Flanders Heritage Libraries, FARO and Packed, thirteen Flemish cultural heritage institutions spent two years indexing, digitising and bringing online hundreds of thousands of newspaper pages from the years 1914 to 1918.
News of the Great War preserves the information from these fragile newspapers for future generations and puts the digitized heritage of the First World War on the international map. News of the Great War is the first major collection to be made available on the platform called The Archive.
The Belgian War Press
91 titles – 22,115 issues – ca. 84,300 pages
Launched in 2012, The Belgian War Press is a public-oriented website that brings together the clandestine and censored press from several major libraries and archives, digitises it, makes it accessible, and provides it with the necessary background information.
It is an initiative of the Study and Documentation Centre on War and Contemporary Society (CEGESOMA, part of the State Archives since 2016), in association with the Royal Library as part of the programme for the digitisation of the collections of the federal scholarly institutions.
In addition to the Great War titles, The Belgian War Press also contains numerous newspaper issues from the Second World War.
19 titles – 5,889 issues – ca. 27,600 pages
BelgicaPress is the press repository of the Royal Library of Belgium, and it makes the newspapers in the collection that are out of copyright available, both physically and digitally. Thanks to OCR (‘optical character recognition’) you may search the digitised even at the level of single words.
More than one hundred Belgian newspapers from the 1831-1950 period have so far been digitised. In addition to the Belgian daily papers, the selection also includes exceptional literary and historical treasures, in particular the censored newspapers from the two world wars.
Abraham. Belgian Newspaper Catalogue
964 title desciptions
Abraham. Belgian Newspaper Catalogue serves as a finding aid for Belgian newspapers preserved in more than one hundred libraries and heritage institutions in the regions of Flanders and Brussels. It contains over 7200 titels, including all newspapers from The Belgian Press from the Great War.
The newspaper catalogue is maintained by Flanders Heritage Libraries and was created with the preservation of fragile newspaper collections in mind. As such, the information in the database served as the starting point for the News of the Great War project. It was updated with new information and titles as this project went along. At a later stage, the newspapers from The Belgian War Press and BelgicaPress were added to the catalogue as well.