Sunday, June 15, 2008

200 Years of Times (London) newspaper archive -- Free and Online


Aimed at setting the gold standard for an online newspaper archive, Times Online has rolled out an elaborate digital newspaper archive stretching back more than 200 years, according to an article in the Guardian, "Time archive offers 20m articles for free." The archive includes more than 20 million articles from every edition of the Times (London), excepting a small number of damaged issues, from 1785 to 1985.

Such a newspaper archive is a real time machine, taking you back in time for real time coverage of momentous historical events. As reported in the Guardian article, the archive includes Thunderer's coverage of events such as the Battle of Waterloo, the first convicts arriving at Botany Bay and the execution of Marie Antoinette. Other issues cover the 1851 Great Exhibition, the Jack the Ripper murders in 1888 and Amelia Earhart's solo flight across the Atlantic in 1932. The archive also includes letters to the editor, photographs and adverts, with each page presented as it was printed in the paper on a parchment-coloured screen.

Anne Spackman, the editor-in-chief of Times Online, said that the Times wanted the project to set the gold standard for an online newspaper archive for "arguably the most famous newspaper in the world." The archive is currently free, and Spackman says no decision will be taken about whether it will remain free or require a subscription until it has generated a solid userbase. . . . Work will begin soon on digitising the rest of the Times editions, as well as the extensive archive of the Sunday Times from 1822 to 2000.

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