The Press and Information Office of the Republic of Cyprus has been a collector and custodian of press archives ever since its establishment. The PIO’s Press Archive consists of the largest and most complete collection of newspapers to ever have been published in Cyprus. In numbers this translates to several millions of newspaper pages and newspapers that date back to 1878! These newspapers are kept and safeguarded in a specially designed space at the Press and Information Office, constituting a valuable source, a testament, for the history of the country’s political, social and economic life, as well as the history of the printed press on the island.
The effort to digitize the printed newspapers kept at the Press Archive started by the P.I.O. in 2006, with the aim to facilitate the public’s access to this valuable archival material, but also to protect the archive from deteriorating due to wear and tear and the ravages of time.
The Press Archive Collection today consists of 381 Cypriot newspapers in the Greek language (political, financial, trade union, sport, satirical, cultural, agricultural etc.), 117 different newspapers published in Cyprus in languages other than Greek (e.g. English, Russian), as well as 199 Turkish-Cypriot newspapers, some of which are in the Ottoman scripture of the period 1891-1930.
In 2009 the first digital search platform was made available to the public for the first time at the P.I.O. premises. To better serve the needs of interested researchers and the wider public the P.I.O. has collaborated with municipalities to establish local research centres, in Limassol in 2011, in Larnaka in 2017, in Ayia Napa in 2018 and in Pafos in 2019. At the same time, the P.I.O. has continued allocating funds to the digitization of more newspapers to further enrich the digital platform.
Digital Herodotus II
Further impetus and a significant contribution to the digitization process, was gained through the P.I.O.’s participation as a partner, along with the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation and the Development Agency of the South Aegean Region, Energean A.E., in the project “Digital Herodotus II”, under the regional cooperation program Interreg V-A Greece-Cyprus '2014-2020'. Through the added support of EU funds, it was made possible to digitize an extra 500.000 newspaper pages, at a lower administrative cost, as well as offer improved and enhanced digital search tools.
Taking a huge leap forward, in 2020 the P.I.O. opens up access to the digital platform online for non-copyright protected material, rendering it in this way accessible to the wider public across the globe, contributing thus to the preservation of the collective conscience and memory of the past, while also facilitating both researchers as well as every one of us to flick through the old newspapers of our country from the comfort of our own home.