Life moves at a fast pace and we are forced to leave parts of our pasts behind. As the Internet serves as the vehicle that seamlessly connects people all over the world, staying connected through space is no longer an issue. However, with the vast archiving capabilities of the Internet, it has become possible to stay connected through time as well. Old newspapers may be left forgotten but old news does survive – in online archives. Old news archives are available in digitized formats, therefore, old news articles and newspapers can be seen in their original formats. You can read an old newspaper article which reported the sinking of the Titanic if you chose to without ever needing to manually hunt through sheets and sheets of old newsprint.
This kind of online ‘preservation’ goes a long way in preserving information that would have otherwise been lost as the pages of history are irreversibly turned. Also, because of this, spotting changes in publishing trends or presentation is quite an easy task and all this information can be used in assessing social changes that have taken place. Changes in people’s expression become visible and such data can provide quality research material for anthropological or sociological studies.
Now, when it comes to reading old news articles, Google leads the way as it has digitized old publications of many different newspapers such as the St. Petersburg Times, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Today’s News-Herald, Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph etc. stored in its news archives, available for access through simple online searches.
Reading old news articles from an old newspaper online makes life a lot easier for people who are trying to trace their ancestry. Newspapers often report births, deaths, engagements and weddings, going to the extent of listing names and locations of the people involved. This is extremely helpful as these unofficial ‘records’ help fill gaps in information when official documents such as birth or death certificates are not available. It is as though the past were carefully woven into a digital tapestry that one can turn to whenever required.
Getting hold of a free newspaper online has never been simpler, especially with the high quality archiving facilities of various search engines being put to play. Once you know what you are looking for, it is only a matter of typing a few words into a search engine and letting technology bridge the gap between the past and the present.