In past few years, several prominent US magazines and newspapers have begun to offer their extensive archives online and on DVD. In some cases, this includes material dating back to the 1850s. Collectively it is an incredible record of recent human history, the ideas, people, and events that have shaped our country and world as recorded by writers, photographers, editors, illustrators, advertisers, and designers who lived through those times. Here are some of most notable of those archives:
Harper’s Magazine offers their entire archive online, from 1850 to 2008. Most of it is only available to the magazine’s subscribers. Associate editor Paul Ford talks about how Harper’s archive came to be.
The NY Times provides their entire archive online, most of it for free. Most of the stories from 1923 to 1986 are available for a small fee. The Times briefly launched an interface for browsing their archive called TimesMachine but withdrew it soon after launch.
The Atlantic Monthly offers all their articles since Nov 1995 and a growing number from their archive dating back to 1857 for free. For a small fee, most of the rest of their articles are available as well, although those from Jan 1964 - Sept 1992 are not.
The Washington Post has archives going back to 1877. Looks like most of it is for pay.
The New Yorker has free archives on their site going back to 2001, although only some of the articles are included. All of their articles, dating back to 1925, are available on The Complete New Yorker DVD set for $40.
Rolling Stone offers some of their archive online but the entire archive (from 1967 to 2007) is available as a 4-DVD set for $79.
Mad Magazine released a 2-DVD set of every issue of the magazine from 1952-2006.
And more to come…old media is slowly figuring out that more content equals more traffic, sometimes much more traffic.
An interview with Paul Ford about the work that he’s been doing at Harper’s, specifically putting the magazine’s entire archives online. “It’s obviously a lot for one person working alone to bring hundreds of thousands of pages online while writing, editing blog content, programming a complex, semantic web-driven site, and providing tech support for an office.”
Apple announces the Harper’s Special Edition iPod. “Number of media legends who came together to create this exciting new Apple product: 2. Chance that literary-minded American consumers will find this new iPod impossible to resist: 1 in 1.”