Archant Launches Digital Archive ‘Local Recall’

Archant has launched Local Recall; a new digital archive with millions of news articles dating back to 1870. 

They partnered with artificial intelligence company, ubisend, to transform 150 years of archived newspapers, making historical content accessible to the public and creating an interactive space between the news content and the reader. 

The archive has been created by carefully transcribing every word and location from the original print, with each word representing a single data point. When Local Recall was launched, there were seven million articles in the database.

Bespoke algorithms rebuilt the articles through scanned content, extracting key entities from each of the archived articles, such as historical figures, location, and events, then organising the content in clusters of topics to create the voice exploration experience.

The articles can be searched online using voice commands run by a new voice technology and chatbots. Combined with Google Home and Amazon Alexa smart speakers, users can use commands to search the archive such as “What happened today in 1934?” and “Read me an article about the moon landing”.

There are also four different chatbots for users (Amazon Alexa, Google Home, text chatbot and browser voicebot). The chatbots use a centralised artificial intelligence engine, enhancing the experience for users when searching through the archive.

Lorna Willis, chief client officer of Archant said: “The Local Recall project is a fantastic example of how through the innovative use of technology, a whole world of local history from the EDP archives can become available for all to enjoy.

We are extremely pleased that this special content is now available not just to read but also to hear and question through world leading chat bot technology.”

The project was funded by the Google Digital News Innovation Fund in 2017.