The award of a 1 million contract to Kodak by the NEWSPLAN 2000 Project will assist those like Bill Oddie, Sue Johnston, Jeremy Clarkson, and Ian Hislop who spent 2004 researching their family trees on the BBCs Who Do You Think You Are?

Since 2000 the NEWSPLAN 2000 Project has been preserving over 1,300 local newspaper titles that are in serious danger of destruction because of their fragile condition.

The NEWSPLAN 2000 Project is a unique partnership between the Heritage Lottery Fund, the regional newspaper industry of the UK, and libraries across all parts of the UK to save the text of the countrys most fragile and rare local newspapers.

The NEWSPLAN 2000 Project is preserving and improving access to local newspaper titles in urgent peril from deterioration in every part of the UK, from County Down to Cardiff, from Glasgow to Cornwall, and from Cumbria to Kent, extending from 1780 to 1950. This massive task of preservation has involved the microfilming of over 40,000 volumes of local newspapers preserving 21 million pages of text. The microfilm of the newspapers is supplied to public libraries and archives in the local areas served by the newspaper title.

The award of a 1 million contract to Kodak is for the supply of microfilm reading equipment to allow library users to read and printout copies from the microfilm produced by NEWSPLAN 2000.

From the early 1830s onwards newspapers become fragile because elements in the paper on which they are printed react with the atmosphere causing acidification. This process is accelerated when combined with heavy usage. Left in this condition, newspapers will disintegrate and perish. To arrest this decline, the NEWSPLAN 2000 Project is preserving local newspapers on archival-quality microfilm, the internationally accepted preservation standard, which has a life of at least 500 years.

The NEWSPLAN 2000 Project has also improved access for the public to local newspapers across the whole of the UK by making the microfilmed text available in local libraries in the areas served by each newspaper, and by supplying libraries with microfilm readers and reader-printers to improve access both for existing users and for new users.

Dr Ann Matheson, Chairman of The NEWSPLAN 2000 Project, warmly welcomed the award to Kodak: This is a marvellous day for local newspapers. Now, with the assistance of the Heritage Lottery Fund and the UK newspaper industry, and the efforts of libraries across the UK, we are confident that a priceless part of our history is being saved and can be accessed for the use and enjoyment of all our citizens.

Kodaks Document Imaging division will be supplying 314 microfilm readers and 156 reader-scanners to over 150 locations in the UK. With a heritage of over 75 years as the Worlds leading microfilm manufacturer, Kodak is delighted to have been chosen as the equipment supplier for such a prestigious project, said Frank Drummond, National Sales Manager It underlines the continuing importance of microfilm as the document preservation medium of choice.

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