Google expands search in old newspapers

SAN FRANCISCO Mon Sep 8, 2008 3:50pm EDT

A Google screenshot of the front page of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from July 21, 1969. REUTERS/tinyurl.com/man-on-the-moon/

A Google screenshot of the front page of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from July 21, 1969.

Credit: Reuters/tinyurl.com/man-on-the-moon/

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc has stepped up efforts to digitize dozens of historical newspapers and make scanned images of the original papers available online, the Internet search leader said on Monday.

In a blog post on the Silicon Valley-based company's website, Google said it is looking to make old newspapers searchable online by partnering with newspaper publishers to digitize millions of pages of news archives.

The effort involves the archives of dozens of newspaper titles and expands on a two-year-old effort by Google to work with two major U.S. newspapers -- The New York Times and Washington Post -- to index old papers in Google News Archive.

"Not only will you be able to search these newspapers, you'll also be able to browse through them exactly as they were printed -- photographs, headlines, articles, advertisements and all," Google product manager Punit Soni said in the blog post.

The new papers range from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "the first newspaper West of the Alleghenies" (the Allegheny Mountains), to the Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph, which has continuously published for 244 years, making it North America's oldest lasting paper.

The additional newspapers allow readers to see how newspapers of bygone days covered historical events.

As an example, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's coverage of Neil Armstrong's (and Edwin Aldrin's) 1969 moon walk can be found at tinyurl.com/man-on-the-moon/.

The initial newspaper partners for the digital archiving program are located in the United States and Canada, a spokesman said.

"The goal is no different than Google Book Search," company spokesman Gabriel Stricker said, referring to Google's broad-based effort to work with major academic libraries around the world to scan older, out-of-print books. "It is just getting a lot of published offline content online."

(Reporting by Eric Auchard, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

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