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Google News Archives Digitization Program Shuts Down

Google’s effort to digitize the world’s newspaper archives and make them available online has come to an end.

The project was launched in September 2008, to 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 — currently has digitized material from what looks like about 2,000 newspapers–including the Milwaukee Sentinel, whose July 21, 1969 front page is shown at right.

According to 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.”

The Phoenix also says that Google is giving back to its newspaper partners the content that Google has already scanned. But it won’t add that content to its news archive going forward. Newspapers that have their own digital archives can still add material to Google’s news archive via sitemaps. They’re also free to take the material that Google has scanned for them and work with other partners to get it online.

A Google spokesperson gave us this statement confirming the shut down tonight:

We work closely with newspaper partners on a number of initiatives, and as part of the Google News Archives digitization program we collaborated to make older newspapers accessible and searchable online. These have included publications like the London Advertiser in 1895, L’Ami du Lecteur at the turn of the century, and the Milwaukee Sentinel from 1910 to 1995.

Users can continue to search digitized newspapers at http://news.google.com/archivesearch, but we don’t plan to introduce any further features or functionality to the Google News Archives and we are no longer accepting new microfilm or digital files for processing.

[Source: Boston Phoenix]

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