Friday, July 30, 2010

Bloomsbury to e-publish one-million page Churchill archive

29.07.10 | Benedicte Page in The Bookseller

Bloomsbury is to make its first move into archive publishing, digitising and publishing in electronic form the one-million page personal archive of wartime prime minister Sir Winston Churchill.

The venture will be managed by Bloomsbury Academic, after a deal with the Sir Winston Churchill Archive Trust and Churchill Heritage Ltd brokered via Gordon Wise at Curtis Brown.
The archive reflects Churchill’s entire life, from Victorian schoolchild to Edwardian rising political star, to national leader in the Second World War and Cold War elder statesmen, including drafts and notes for his speeches, and key correspondence and papers.

Bloomsbury chief executive Nigel Newton [pictured, left, shaking hands with Sir Winston’s great grandson Randolph] said the archive is “the closest the UK has to a Presidential Library”, saying its publication online would become "a landmark in 20th century historical studies.”

Academic publisher Frances Pinter said when the project came up it was “a fantastic opportunity to have what I suspect is the largest archive of any prime minister, and of a figure who features so prominently in 20th century history.”
She added that the publisher’s investment was “substantial.”

The archive will be published in summer 2012 on a new platform being built for Bloomsbury by software developer iFactory and due for launch shortly.

Pinter said the archive would be sold globally “with prices appropriate for the broadest possible market”, to institutions, as a schools product with additional teaching aids, and as individual subscriptions. She added the publisher intended to develop “a substantial 20th-century history publications programme” including further archives.

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