Saturday, March 20, 2010

Archives as part of a reboot

"Browse" view of the Montreal Gazette from Google News Archive.
As more newspapers fold--as in close their doors--one gap left by the rebooting of journalism is the local newspaper archive, or morgue. In some cases, insolvent newspapers' archives are fair game for auction or just disposal, and there's no assurance the records will go to a curator, museum or other responsible party.

Online news archives are starting to fill that gap, and Google News announced last week that it's adding a "browse" feature that lets you skim through one issue (as shown above from the Montreal Gazette) or several in its searchable news archive.  Go here to see a full list of features, which include search and advanced search; News archive material also shows up in regular Google searches.

Other newspaper archives are indexed here by the Library of Congress and here by Wikipedia, but the most comprehensive list of online archives is here, maintained by the Special Libraries Association.  It includes papers from every U.S. state.  And don't stop with newspapers.  C-SPAN just put its archive online, and Popular Science has, too.

What can you do with an online news archive? Content curators should be looking for old clips about their institutions and highlighting them online, since archives can yield fascinating blog and website content, as we've noted before.  Making your archives available--for research, rebooting or mashups by others, or as an expansion of your rich content offerings--broadens and deepens your organization or company's online brand and its connections with customers, supporters and even former employees or alumni.  Perhaps you can help secure and publish the archives of a local or specialized newspaper focused on your area or field. 

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