The new old Daily Gazette

gazette google grab

There should be more stories about giant blimps.

This is cool: Google is digitizing the Daily Gazette's microfilm -- and it's indexing the archives using optical character recognition (that's software that can "read" the text in images).

Google has already indexed 7.6 million Gazette articles, according to the newspaper's site. The current index stretches back to the 1920s, but paper the archive will eventually include articles from 1897 forward.

The archive is fun to do through. You can search for a topic, read the article (and link to it), zoom out to see page on which the article originally appeared, shuffle through adjacent pages and click on headlines to zoom back in. For example, here's an article from 1922 about Thomas Edison's return to Schenectady. As far as we can tell, you don't have to be a subscriber to use the archive.

Google has working with newspapers to digitize archives since 2008 (and few major papers before that). It shares ad revenue from the archives with the papers.

screen grab: Daily Gazette


I just had an image of a twelve year old me excitedly searching through weeks or months of Gazette archives on the microfilm readers at the Schenectady Library and thinking that this was the coolest technology ever (it could even print, for ten cents per page.) Then I have an image of a 44 year old me cursing, looking for the CTRL-F search on that #$%^ contraption. This is an enormous improvement, though it's kind of sad that kids now will never know the fun of the scroll wheel and a printer with a coin slot.

The Gazette is dead to me, and it seems to be okay with that. I think $208/yr for all-you-can-eat print and online is a decent price ... for Schenectadians (I'm not one) ... who value the print edition ... and don't mind that the site can't be linked-to ... and will suffer the noisy, sub-par layout. Hard to guess what the future holds for the Daily Gazette enterprise, but they'll be living it without me. And they seem okay with that.

I like and respect the Gazette. Good luck to them. It's as though we're on a wagon train together, and the families on those two wagons over there truly believe that a different bearing is wiser. They resolve to break away and take their chances. That's their right. I hope they make it, but by their choice we've parted ways.


The M. E. Grenander Archives at UAlbany have archived the Albany Student Presses this same way

Interesting. The article next to the one about Edison's return is about how blimps should use helium exclusively following an accident in San Antonio, Tx. The Hindenburg wouldn't happen for another 15 years. Lessons learned, but ignored can be very costly.

There goes my work day....

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