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As a news junkie and a history junkie, I have to say that Google’s newspaper archive is just about as fascinating as it gets.
Announced on the official Google blog the other day, it appears the monolithic search company is going to attempt scanning and indexing just about every North American newspaper ever. They are going to be working their way through scanning and indexing them for the fore seeable future, but as you can see from the example to the right, you enter a search term and you get highlights showing why it was brought up.
What I love is they are scanning these as they were printed, so if you feel like just browsing a paper, you get the ads, headlines, the little odd stories and things that have disappeared over the years. In the sample newspaper I was looking at, there was a column called “Daddy’s Evening Fairy Tale” which was a short story for fathers to read to their children at night. So cool and such a slice of America from years ago.
The part that just amazes me is the depth this can add to term papers for students. Will they use it is another question, but you can get a real taste for how a historical event was viewed at the time it was happening by reading actual accounts. I would have killed for something like this when I was in school.
Kudos to Google, I think this is a very worthy effort.