'Tis the season to realize how pesky it is to search newspapers online.
Even if the story you want was just published last week, finding content through a newspaper's online search tool is hard work.
But never fear, dear readers. Several initiatives vying to improve newspaper search engines have been announced in recent days. First off, Ifra
, a leading association for newspaper and media publishing, announced the launch of a vertical search engine for the newspaper industry in January.
The project has been in planning mode for two years, and will index a multitude of global sources of information from the newspaper industry.
Secondly, a consortium of newspaper publishers introduced ACAP
("Automated Content Access Protocol"), an open standard that allows publishers to protect their intellectual property rights by giving them control over what search engines can gain access to and for how long.
Supported by the World Association of Newspapers, the International Publishers Association and the European Publishers Council, WAN president Gavin O’Reilly is hopeful that "ACAP will give the content industry worldwide the incentive to innovate, create and disseminate."
Finally, there's NewsModo.com
NetModo Inc., a web-publishing venture aimed at providing free content to consumers, launched its initial website NewsModo.com with over 3.5 million news articles from 85 newspapers across the country in partnership with Media News Group Interactive (which is a wholly owned division of MediaNews Group, the nation’s 4th largest newspaper company).
Replacing the "pay-per-view" model supported by some online newspapers, NewsModo allows readers to search up to ten years back. The only real limitation are the newspapers that you can search.
They are mostly local and regional papers, which might not be so detrimental, after all as the bigger newspapers, like the New York Times, recently made its news archives public
At the core of these newspaper search engine initiatives are the people who want to find content when the want it, without having to jump through hoops and pay gobs of money.
Speaking as an experienced newspaper search engine user, most times the content being sought is not in the realm of world news and politics, but those that hold a sentimental importance, like obituaries, wedding and birth announcements.