University of Kent launches newspaper cartoon archive

More than 100,000 newspaper political cartoons dating back more than a century are to be made available online as part of a new free web archive to be launched by the University of Kent this week.

The cartoons.ac.uk website, part of the university’s British Cartoon Archive, is due to be unveiled on Wednesday and claims to be the largest political cartoon database in the world.

It will feature material dating back to 1904, including work by Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell, Punch and Private Eye artist Ralph Steadman and the late Australian illustrator Will Dyson.

The site will also include newly digitised cartoons from the Carl Giles archive, described by the university as ‘the single most important archive of British newspaper cartoons, and a key resource for British political and social history”.

The digitisation project has been funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (Jisc) – a group that supports the use of technology in education.

Jisc has also funded a new online archive, nfo.ac.uk, providing 3,000 hours of archive news footage to university students, which launched last month.

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