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Newspapers Should Continue Google’s Abandoned Archive-Scanning Project

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Daily Record front page from July 16, 1969

The front page of the Daily Record, in Ellensburg, Wash., where I used to work, from July 16, 1969. (Note: Uh, I worked there from 2005-2007, though.)

Google has abandoned its project to scan newspaper archives:

According to the Boston Phoenix, one of the newspapers that was giving Google its archives for scanning and indexing online, Google emailed its partners on Thursday to announce that the program was coming to an end so Google could concentrate instead on “newer projects that help the industry, such as Google One Pass, a platform that enables publishers to sell content and subscriptions directly from their own sites.”

Newspapers should pick up where Google left off, even if they can’t build a complete archive. Start posting the most memorable headlines — local ones, or national watershed moments (moon landing, etc.).

People love to look back and see how far the world has come. They love to see what the place they live in used to look like.

I even think newspapers could make money off a venture like this: Post classic headlines/front pages in an online trove, for free, but have a link on each where people can order framed copies. I think people would go for this, and I think it’s at least worth a try. (I, for one, would love a copy of the Mariners’ 1995 ALDS win over the Yankees. And the moon thing.)

Any newspapers out there doing this already?

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