Newspaper Database

Hear the People Speak.

In 1914 print was king; there was no TV, no Radio, certainly no internet and only a fledgling Film Industry. Print was every citzen’s window to their surrounding community and also the wider world. Newspapers were key and for local communities that meant the local newspaper.

Project to index the war related content of the Halifax Courier 1914-19 (Working title ‘NewsCat’)


NewsCat was the first major project of HGWHS. Local newspapers are a very rich source of information on how local communities responded to the experience of living through the Great War. They can, however, be difficult to research because of the sheer volume of the information involved and the cumbersome nature of film viewers.

​The objective of NewsCat was to digitally index the war related content of the local newspapers. This would allow individuals, groups and organisations to more easily find what they were looking for. Indexing allowed the information to be key worded so that research could be conducted by themes, names and locations.

Key wording was done by using digitised versions of the newspapers in PDF form.
Left: Pauline Lancaster (Calderdale Libraries and Information), John Sunderland (HGWHS Treasurer) and John Spencer. (Duke of Wellington’s Regimental Museum, Bankfield) look through some Halifax Courier pages.

The Newspapers Covered

HGWHS concentrated on indexing the Halifax Courier. The Brighouse Great War Group adopted our system to investigate the Brighouse Echo. Both newspapers have now been indexed. We now wish to take this to the next stage of putting them online with a custom search facility so that anyone can use the resource.

How the PDF Files Were Used

The PDF files can be viewed with Acrobat Reader. They have optical character recognition (OCR) built in, so every printed word is searchable. We estimate this is about 70% efficient. Very useful but not perfect.

Indexing with key-words added the extra dimensions of themes, locations and significant names. Search returns on these are more likely to be 95% efficient in retrieving information.

Indexing the Newspapers Using the ‘Sticky Note’ Feature

The war related items on the PDF pages were marked with a digital symbol using the ‘sticky note’ feature. We opted for a red tick. A comment box is associated with each sticky note and was used to add the defined keywords.

Below is a ‘sticky note’ box with key words added. Below this are three examples of these boxes stacked in the ‘Comments’ column.


Some of the indexed PDFs are archived on this site.
At the moment there is no FAQ or guidance on how to use them.
Indexed PDF Newspapers