Friday, March 06, 2009


Questions for

I'm conducting an interview with the director of content development at, a site that I know many of you use. I'm winding down on questions and I'd like to throw it open to you guys. What would you like to know about the service? Whether it's a general question about the service, about the site, even a tech support question, the director has been very forthcoming, so if you have a burning question please post a comment or send me a private email (

The interview is tentatively scheduled to appear in the next issue of Hogan's Alley.

How do they choose what issues (dates) of a newspaper to scan and include in their collection? For many of the newspapers I search, it's hit and miss whether or not I'll find something because there are only a few issues available for any particular year.
Hi Central --
Hmm. Could you give me an example? I know the archives are by no means perfect, but I've certainly seen very few of their archived papers be limited to a few per years.

No question, more of a comment. Could they amend the search engine in such a way that it tells you if the paper you are looking for is not in their archives for that date? For example, it took me several tries to realize a paper I was backtracking trough january wasn't available for any date in the year before that. And no means except hit and miss to see how long the gap would be.

Of course, for comic fans it would be great if they included a vertical word search as well for those strips that have the name of the strip along the side...

Tricky question. How is their relation to copyrigh issues? If I take a strip from their archives and put it on my blog, are there additional copyright issues I should take into account (apart from not using images that are still copyrighted in themselves)?
Hi Ger --
Let me take a crack at those:

1. The search engine doesn't really 'know' that it's searching a particular paper. A search on a specific paper just knows that it didn't find any results and reports that. Instead use "Browse Available Papers" to see which dates the site has available.

2. OCR software isn't nearly smart enough yet to recognize when text is vertical rather than the expected horizontal, especially on lo-res images from microfilm. Check back in a few years.

3. I've asked about copyrights, but not secondary use. I'll definitely ask that.

I have one: When are the digitized issues of the Toronto Star, obtained with their purchase of Paper of Record, expected to be available on Newspaper Archive?
I don't know if this is the right place to post this question, but I'll ask anyway: is there anyplace I can get a complete run of my all-time favorite strip Gordo? I have many strips from the 40's, none from the 50's, a few from the 60's and 70's, and a lot up until the end in 1985 (although I seem to be missing all of '83 and '84)?
TimeGhost... lot's of Gordo NewspaperArchives. I have samples from all through the fifties, both Sundays and dailies. But they are from micro-fiche, so I wan to scan in some of my own collection to add a little color before showing them on my blog. I could start with a 1951 daily run if I get those lifted.
Hi Ed -
Thanks for the question. I'll ask about that.

Hi everyone. I know I should wait until the interview to answer questions, but I thought that Ger's question on copyright would be great to answer here. We do maintain a separate copyright for the digital images, but we also love to urge people to use the images on their blogs and other non-commercial online endeavors.

Like Ger mentioned, you do have to be careful about the original copyright - but for the older content, you can go ahead and post images. We do require a citation or link back to the site so we're credited. But have fun with the newspaper pages!

Thank you,

I "misposted" earlier. It was Google that bought Paper of Record, so that's where the Toronto Star is headed, not My bad.
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