I spent my weekend researching family history using newspaper databases from my local library. I wanted to go into the library to play with Ancestry.com (which is available onsite for free), but my pup decided he was going to catch a stomach bug 🙁 Anyway, I was very disappointed in the tools I used. They weren’t able to follow simple search syntax like phrases and booleans. That’s why I’m happy to see this news from Google & ProQuest.
Hoping to do for newspapers what Google Book Search has done for monographs, ProQuest and search giant Google have reached an agreement to digitize millions of pages of content from ProQuest’s vast newspaper microfilm archives. While ProQuest has vowed to continue improving and expanding its Historical Newspapers collection independently, the Google deal aims to create searchable electronic versions of smaller newspapers otherwise unlikely to be digitized, making them available on the open web via Google’s News archive search. “The problem is that, until now, finding a workable economic model for libraries and publishers has been challenging,” said Rod Gauvin, ProQuest senior VP of publishing. “This model overcomes that hurdle, unlocking a wealth of content for libraries and Internet users with unique research needs.”
I’m not sure that this search will be any better – but I at least know that Google can handle my phrase searches.
Learn more about this new partnership.