Guardian News and Media is to make its entire archive, 212 years of material, available online as a paid-for service.
The first phase of the online archive, comprising the Guardian from 1821 to 1975 and The Observer from 1900 to 1975, will launch on 3 November, the company said today.
Material from the Observer from 1791 to 1900 and after 1975, and from the Guardian after 1975, will become available next year.
In total, the service will make more than 1.2 million pages of news content available online at guardian.co.uk/archive.
The archive will be accessible to the public via an online subscription service, although it will be made available free during November. Universities and libraries will be able to subscribe to the archive via ProQuest CSA.
The archive will be searchable and exact replicas of the original newpapers will be viewable, both at full page and individual article level.
The digitisation of the GNM archive has been in progress since last December at Silicon Valley-based Olive Software.
‘The launch of the archive will revolutionise the way in which users are able to access our historic content, whether for academic research or personal interest,’said Guardian News and Media head of syndication and rights Gerard Baines.
The group says the move will ensure the preservation of the papers’ legacy as microfilm and paper archives are in danger of degrading beyond repair.
Last month, the British Library announced plans to make out-of-copyright newspapers from the 19th century available to academic researchers.
Both the Mirror and the Times have expanded the use of their historical archives in the past year.