In my recent review of The British Newspaper Archive I moaned about the fact that ‘hit-term highlightingwas mysteriously absent from its interface. Unlike every other archive on the market, the BNA doesn’t highlight your search term on the article image. Here’s how it works in other databases:

In this example, I performed a keyword search for the term ‘Victorian’. One of the articles it returned was this lengthy piece from the Liverpool Mercury. It’s 5616 words long. Fortunately, thanks to hit-term highlighting, I can just skip straight to the word shaded in green and read the part of the article that I’m interested in. A similar search on the BNA would require me to carefully read a column and a half of text in order to find the word I searched for. This really slows down the research process when you’ve got 500 articles to analyse.

With any luck, brightsolid will address this problem with an update to the BNAs interface. This might take a while – in the meantime, there’s a temporary solution to the problem that should save us all a bit of time:

Step 1: perform a normal keyword search.

Step 2: open up an article.

Step 3: Click the ‘Show Article Text’ button at the top of the left hand menu. This reveals the raw OCR text sitting beneath your chosen article.

Step 4: Open your web browser’s ‘find’ tool. The quickest way to do this is to press ‘ctrl+f”

Step 5: Type your keyword into the ‘find’ tool. This should highlight all instances of that word which appear on the page – including the place it appears in the raw OCR.

Step 6: Find and click your keyword in the raw OCR.

Step 7: This should place a thin black box around a line of the article image. Within this box, you’ll find your keyword.

Here’s a video of me searching an article for the term ‘sleeper’: