Digitizing events – Google and partners digitize newspapers

Google are working with various publishing partners to digitize newspapers from, it appears, Canada and North America. As Punit Soni, the product manager for the programme, writes:

“This effort is just the beginning. As we work with more and more publishers, we’ll move closer towards our goal of making those billions of pages of newsprint from around the world searchable, discoverable, and accessible online.”

In essence this is a laudable step since newspapers are fragile (sometimes damaged) and thus difficult or expensive to digitize.

But wouldn’t it be great if these papers were more than just searchable and discoverable? How about useable with metadata that is hackable so that you could, for instance, link book texts with real life events? It could then be leveraged for educational purposes as well as plain research and to really engage students with reaction at the time in primary sources rather than filtered through secondary sources. The possibilities…

Post: Official Google Blog: Bringing history online, one newspaper at a time