Google’s latest foray into gathering information sounds promising. Its News Archive Search is described as an:
easy way to search and explore historical archives. Users can search for events, people, ideas and see how they have been described over time. In addition to searching for the most relevant articles for their query, users can get an historical overview of the results by browsing an automatically created timeline. Search results include both content that is accessible to all users and content that requires a fee. Articles related to a single story within a given time period are grouped together to allow users to see a broad perspective on the events.
If the material is in a database owned by someone — even if the stories have long since passed into the public domain — we’ll still pay for them. Not so great, after all: one step forward, three-quarters of a step backward.
Still, there’s a good aspect to this. Perhaps journalists and students will stop believing that the world was created in 1984, which is approximately the year when the news archives began going into databases.