Google has begun scanning microfilm from some newspapers’ historic archives to make them searchable online, first through Google News and eventually on the papers’ own Web sites.
The new program expands a two-year-old service that allows Google News users to search the archives of some major newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and Time, that were already available in digital form. Readers will be able to search the archives using keywords and view articles as they appeared originally in the print pages of newspapers.
“This is really good for newspapers because we are going to be bringing online an old generation of contributions from journalists, as well as widening the reader base of news archives,” said Marissa Mayer, vice president for search products and user experience at Google.
You’ll be able to explore this historical treasure trove by searching the Google News Archive or by using the timeline feature after searching Google News. Not every search will trigger this new content, but you can start by trying queries like [Nixon space shuttle] or [Titanic located]. Stories we’ve scanned under this initiative will appear alongside already-digitized material from publications like the New York Times as well as from archive aggregators, and are marked “Google News Archive.” Over time, as we scan more articles and our index grows, we’ll also start blending these archives into our main search results so that when you search Google.com, you’ll be searching the full text of these newspapers as well.