Archive for September 9th, 2008

Google microfiches 200 years of newspapers

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

The days of having to rely on newspapers’ online archives or, heaven forfend, actual physical archives in libraries, will soon be over.

Today, we’re launching an initiative to make more old newspapers accessible and searchable online by partnering with newspaper publishers to digitize millions of pages of news archives. Let’s say you want to learn more about the landing on the Moon. Try a search for [Americans walk on moon], and you’ll be able to find and read an original article from a 1969 edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Not only will you be able to search these newspapers, you’ll also be able to browse through them exactly as they were printed — photographs, headlines, articles, advertisements and all.

That’s a major deal right there. Even the big papers with extensive archives available online don’t offer the full print experience. For pop culture fans, that’s a barely explored treasure trove of information at their fingerprints.

I haven’t quite gotten the hang of how to scare up the good stuff. They seem to be starting with major events (the moon landing and the discovery of the wreck of the Titanic, for instance), but the blog entry also links to full issues of old papers turned up after a search for “Ford Model T.”

(That particular paper, incidentally, is the April 6,1912 edition of The Evening Independent, which covers the filling passenger rolls for Titanic’s maiden voyage, Taft’s likely nomination, a flood in Tennessee and an anthracite miners’ strike in Philadelphia.)

I want to see Victorian ads for some quack medicine or vibrators called Electromatic Hysteria Theraputalyzers, dammit!

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