Newspapers from 1817 to 1930 searchable online 2005-03-15

Related to yesterdays entry on paywalls I thought it worth pointing to The Scotsman Digital Archive

The Scotsman has made every copy from 1817 to 1930 available online. The archive is NOT free - it costs from £7.95 for a 24 hour pass to £159.95 for a one year pass. However this article on the creation of the archive is a worthwhile read.

The archive will apparently also be extended up to 1950 come April this year.

So related to the discussions on placing content behind a paywall - what about content that was previously mostly unavailable?

The Scotsman archives, as most archives of printed paper, have previously only had very limited availability due to the physical limitations of access, so even if it costs money, this is arguably a significant step forwards - a valuable resource for historians and genealogists for instance.

Archives this old are perhaps unlikely to achieve significant advertising revenue, so one can understand why they attempt to charge.

But would the long tail be applicable? I.e., can you expect even the more obscure content to eventually be of interest to someone, and would that make advertising supported free access better long term combined with the increased exposure free access would create?

While pondering those questions, take a look at the first ever issue of the Scotsman from January 25th 1817. If the content doesn't interest you, take a look for the user interface.

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