Hear ye! Hear ye! Read all about it… online

Chronicling America has newspapers dating back to 1690Yesterday the Official Google Blog announced the launch of Google’s newspaper digitization project, a new initiative meant to digitize millions of newspapers and make them available online. It sounds similar to the Google Books project, in scope and ambition, which along with excitement and praise, has also drawn its fair share of criticisms (for instance, see Robert B. Townsend’s concerns in “Google Books: What’s Not to Like?”). Will some of the issues of Google Books, like poor scan quality and faulty metadata, be attended to in this new project?

While Google’s newspaper digitization project is definitely newsworthy, there are already similar resources available online. Read on to revisit some online newspaper sites AHA Today has covered in the past.

In “First Drafts of History at Your Fingertips,” Pillarisetti Sudhir profiled the Chronicling America site, a digital project of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. The Chronicling America site currently provides access to over 200,000 pages of newspapers (dating back to 1690) from six states and the District of Columbia.

Newseum front page archiveHistorical Moments Captured in the Newseum’s Front Page Archive” takes a look at the Newseum’s fascinating newspaper front page section, which updates everyday with over 600 hundred newspaper front pages from around the world. And while the Newseum can’t keep an archive of all the front pages they show daily, they do maintain an archive of “front pages that chronicle events of historical significance.” See front pages from the 2008 Summer Olympics, the 2007 California wildfires, the Virginia Tech Massacre, and many other historical events.

While those are two examples of outside groups creating newspaper archives, some newspapers are taking the initiative to provide access to past issues themselves. The New York Times for instance allows for searches all the way to issues from 1851, as mentioned in Vernon Horn’s article, “New York Times Archives 1851 to present,” from last year.

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