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Times opens 200 years of archives to online users

LONDON - The Times is launching a free online archive of its newspapers spanning 200 years, which will reproduce stories exactly as they originally appeared in print.

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The Times Archive, launching June 16 on Times Online, will be a fully digitised and searchable archive of every issue of The Times published between 1785 and 1985.

Copies of The Times from 1985 until 2000 and editions of The Sunday Times will be added as the programme develops.

The archive will encompass 20m articles, ads and photographs. All ads in the newspaper will be viewable, from property ads and situations vacant, to the benefits of drinking Horlicks during the Blitz.

Users can search, click and drag the newspaper pages on their screens and save, print and email articles.

The archive site also contains 150 topic pages covering subjects such as Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King, the Crimean War and Scott of the Antarctic.

The topic pages are enhanced by galleries of archive photographs and behind-the-scenes features and videos revealing how historic news events were brought to the pages of The Times.

Users can also browse letters to the Editor from figures such as Thomas Hardy, Karl Marx, Oscar Wilde, Queen Victoria, Charles Darwin, Mussolini and Ian Fleming.

Anne Spackman, editor-in-chief of Times Online, said: "Many newspapers have digitised their archives, but our ambition at the start of this project was to set a gold standard.

"That is why our digital archive shows every story as it appeared in the paper, giving it a context and a place in history.

"That is also why we have an Archive Editor within our editorial team to develop the community around our archive and link up relevant reports from history with the news of the day."

Searching the archive is free and all featured articles and topics within the archive will remain free to view.

Full access to the rest of the archive, via search results, will remain free for an introductory period. The Times said it would make a decision about whether to charge users a fee once the archive has generated a solid userbase.

An interactive guide to how to use the archive was created by I-D Media.

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