Google Brings Old Newspapers Online

September 8th, 2008 at 12:00 am

google news archive

Google News is bringing back old news to the web.

Way before the world wide web, newspapers were the sole source of news for many people.  In fact, newspapers have been around for more than 200 years and they’re still here.  There’s actually too much information in newspapers accumulating dust in dirty library corners that are being forgotten.  Now, Google brings them back with Google News Archives.  These archives are indexed scans of old newspapers dating back to the 19th century.  The archives are searchable much like the web, Google has had their bots read the papers word for word by text recognition.  This means that we can now view articles more than a hundred years old just like it was delivered to our doorstep this morning.

Here are some highlights from the Official Google Blog.

"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. " 

"This effort expands on the contributions of others who’ve already begun digitizing historical newspapers. In 2006, we started working with publications like the New York Times and the Washington Post to index existing digital archives and make them searchable via the Google News Archive. Now, this effort will enable us to help you find an even greater range of material from newspapers large and small, in conjunction with partners such as ProQuest and Heritage, who’ve joined in this initiative. One of our partners, the Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph, is actually the oldest newspaper in North America—history buffs, take note: it has been publishing continuously for more than 244 years." 

For people intrigued by history but do not go to the library to scan through old microfilms, this is a treasure trove on our fingertips.  I especially like the scans from the older newspapers.

The news archive is viewable here and there’s an option to view via a timeline that goes down to the daily level.   This means that I’ll be going through history dates and reading the headlines the day after.