Journal article Open Access

Digital interfaces of historical newspapers: opportunities, restrictions and recommendations

Pfanzelter, Eva; Oberbichler, Sarah; Marjanen, Jani; Langlais, Pierre-Carl; Hechl, Stefan

Many libraries offer free access to digitised historical newspapers via user interfaces. After an initial period of search and filter options as the only features, the availability of more advanced tools and the desire for more options among users has ushered in a period of interface development. However, this raises a number of open questions and challenges. For example, how can we provide interfaces for different user groups? What tools should be available on interfaces and how can we avoid too much complexity? Which tools are particularly helpful and how can we improve their usability? This paper does not provide definite answers to these questions, but it gives an insight into the difficulties, challenges and risks of using interfaces to investigate historical newspapers. More importantly, it provides ideas and recommendations for the improvement of user interfaces and digital tools.

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