19th century French newspaper from Jersey to be digitised

One of Jersey's oldest French newspapers is being digitised.

The Société Jersiaise has begun a project to bring their 19th century collection of Chronique de Jersey newspapers into the 21st century.

The newspaper was published between 1814-1957 and was Jersey’s last French-language newspaper, making it an invaluable record of the island's cultural heritage.

Furthermore, it documents a period in which Jersey underwent significant and repeated transformations to its economy, population and societal values.

Neil Molyneux from Société Jersiaise says the preservation of these newspapers is vitally important. Credit: ITV Channel TV

The collection, held by the Lord Coutanche Library at the Société Jersiaise, is the only complete set of the Chronique de Jersey in the world, making the digitisation and preservation of the collection vitally important.

The Société Jersiaise is working with TownsWeb - a UK based company specialising in digitisation and heritage collections - to produce high-resolution digital reproductions of each page of every published issue. These will then be made available to the public via a new website.

In addition, TownsWeb will OCR (Optical Character Recognition) the digital reproductions, allowing the content to be searchable via keywords. This feature represents a significant step forward in improving access to the content of this collection. The OCR text also provides an opportunity for non-French speakers to use automated translation applications to bridge a language barrier that previously prevented them from accessing the collection.

Chronique de Jersey documents 150 years of Island life during a key period of social and economic development. Credit: ITV Channel TV

The earliest issues will be online and available to the public from July 2022, with the project due to be completed by December 2022.

This project is being supported by The Jersey Community Foundation, which has provided a grant of £31,000 towards the £60,000 project.