Alexis Madrigal writes in the Atlantic …
The grand old magazines of the world have had a hell of a time getting their content into digital form. While I think a business case can be made for building out an archive, creating the focus and finding the money to do so has been tough. Many of the magazines with long, glorious histories (our own included) have not built proper homes for their content from 1961, let alone 1861.
Check out the new Scientific American archive on Nature.com. It’s glorious. Not only has every article been scanned from 1845 to present, BUT — and this is important — each one is fully searchable and linked with the traditional table of contents. Each article is available in its original format, too, which makes for fun serendipitous encounters with weird stuff. They’ve also made it easy to link to any individual article. Take the March 23, 1909 issue. I can see at a glance that all of these awesome articles are contained within:
- Burchell’s Zebra
- An Alcohol-Acetylene Mixture for Internal-Combustion Engines
- Latest Designs of the Motor in Warfare
- How Compressed Air Raised a Sunken Ship. The Remarkable Salving of the Steamship ” Bavarian”
- Controlling Torpedoes by Wireless Telegraphy
- An Interesting German Flying Machine
- The Story of a Silk Hat
OK, here are some questions I had, and the answers I found …
What is in the Archive?
In a word … Everything. They have four collections:
– August 1845- December 1909 (approximately 75,000 articles).
– January 1910- December 1947 (approximately 38,300 articles).
– January 1948- December 1992 (approximately 15,800 articles).
– January 1993- December 2005 (approximately 4,600 articles).
What is Free and for How Long?
The 1845-1909 archive collection will be free to all to access from 1-30 November 2011.
You will eventually need to pay to access one of more of these. Sadly, it will be either via an Institutional license, or (I think), $18-25 per article … sigh!… thats not good.
What these folks don’t get is that a lot of the public would be really interested in gaining access, but don’t have an institution they can do it from … think high-school students for example, or just plain old science geeks, and sadly their current pricing model locks them all out.