Thursday, August 6, 2009

Well this is cool

Via Gawker, of all places, I learn that Google News has been engaged in digitizing a variety of historic newspapers, including the early days of the Village Voice. Sort of like Proquest Historical Newspapers, but free. I'm still figuring out how to use it, but it seems to search not only the papers Google archived themselves, but also the archives of of papers like the NY Times that operate their own fee-based archives, as well as free ones like Time magazine.

Interesting. I've long been a fan of the Proquest version of historic newspapers, which started with the NY Times and then included the LA Times and the Wall Street Journal. Actually, this summer I've discovered that they have expanded to a whole range of papers, including back issues of the Baltimore Afro-American I would love to delve into. Unfortunately, none of the four academic institutions I steal database access from seems to subscribe to that service. Sigh. The great advantage of ProQuest is that you are dealing with PDF copies of the actual papers, ads and all, and not just plain-text articles yanked out of their physical context.

Now we just need someone to digitize all of Billboard and we're all set!

ETA: Commenter Mike points out that it is! Glory be!


cpo said...

I find the Google News search function really hard to use. I'm sure I'll learn it and it's fine, but it is soooo different from accessing microfilm. Google Books is also different from what I'm used to (they have almost the entire run of New York magazine!). Anyway, I'm sooooo excited about this.

Mike Rivest said...

Billboard is at Google Books (not News Archive)

PMG said...

Mike, please marry me. I literally was just about to settle in for a week at the library reading Billboard on microfilm. This blog just made itself worthwhile.

Now, internet, how about finding me an online database of...Cashbox. Anyone?

CPO, I totally agree. I usually find Google interfaces quite well-done, but I guess I'm just too set in my database searching ways, or something.

cpo said...

We have all the old Billboard in the library here, so sometimes I just sit and leaf through it. Really the fastest way, I think...

What's really hard about Google Books is that you can't sort by date. ARGH.

Dan B. said...

ProQuest and gave me a ton to work with on my reception-of-Nashville paper.