April 16, 2007
By Vernon Horn
In mid-March the New York Times announced that it would make its popular TimesSelect service available free to college students. TimesSelect offers access to columnists and other premium content. But perhaps the best part is the ability to search the Times back to 1851. So, a query on, say, “Abraham Lincoln” yields 25,899 results. Sorting the results by date shows that the first and very inconspicuous mention of Lincoln was on June 22, 1852, when he served as member of the Whig National Committee. Additional search terms can be added to filter the results down to a more manageable amount. Many of the articles are displayed in a pdf format that is essentially a facsimile of the original article. One limitation of this format, however, is that it does not allow you to copy and paste article text, or even search for words in the text of the article. Nevertheless, TimesSelect is a valuable resource for researchers.