Making Digital Archives Accessible

Someone sent me a neat article from the New York Times today. The article talks about how Sports Illustrated is opening up it’s archives for anyone to search. The article implies that this is the way all print publications will probably go to keep their audiences. I’d rather it be that they’re doing it to provide everyone with free access to information – but I guess I’ll take it anyway we can get it.

Publications are rediscovering their archives, like a person learning that a hand-me-down coffee table is a valuable antique. For magazines and newspapers with long histories, especially, old material can be reborn on the Web as an inexpensive way to attract readers, advertisers and money.

Sports Illustrated, which faces fierce daily, even hourly, competition with ESPN, Yahoo Sports and others, has something its main rivals do not: a 53-year trove of articles and photos, most of it from an era when the magazine dominated the field of long-form sports writing and color sports photography.

On Thursday, the magazine will introduce the Vault, a free site within SI.com that contains all the words Sports Illustrated has ever published and many of the images, along with video and other material, in a searchable database.

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