Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Google News Archive Search

I found this interesting article on Search Engine Watch:

Google's new News Archive Search lets you search back over twenty decades worth of historical content, including scads of articles not previously available via the search engine.

"The goal of this service is to allow people to search and explore how history unfolded," said Anurag Acharya, Google distinguished engineer, who played a major role in shepherding the new product.

Google has partnered with news organizations including Time, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, the Guardian and the Washington Post, and aggregators including Factiva, LexisNexis, Thomson Gale and HighBeam Research, to index the full-text of content going back 200 years.

Archived news results can be found in three ways. You can search the news archives directly through a new News Archive Search page. News archive results are also returned when you search on Google News or do a general Google web search and your query has relevant historical news results.

Both free and fee-based content is included in Archive Search, with content from both publishers and aggregators. Search results available for a fee are labeled "pay-per-view" or with a specific price indicated. Google does not host this content; clicking on a link for fee-based content takes you to the content owner or aggregator's web site where you must complete the transaction before gaining access to the content.

It's an interesting range of content -- many, many newspapers, Time Magazine, etc. -- but when I searched, the lion's share of what I found was for-fee or restricted by subscription, not free. Even materials dating to the 1850s-1890s were restricted by subscription or pay-per-view.

I tried a Washington Post article from 1894. Now, we subscribe to ProQuest Historical Newspapers, including the Washington Post. But the links in the Google search results took me through something called ProQuest Archiver, which redirected me to the Washington Post archive where I was asked to pony up $3.95. So I searched ProQuest Historical Newspapers and came up with the same article, free to me because it is covered by our subscription.

So, it's an interesting discovery tool, but unrelated to our licensed resources and expensive to use if you have to pay for almost everything you find. Why doesn't it have an OpenURL Resolver service like Google Scholar, so authorized users can get to authorized resources?

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