The Associated Press reports that the U.S. government plans to place 30 million pages from historical newspapers online, beginning in 2006. The papers will date from 1836 through 1922. This will be an amazing resource for students, teachers, historians, researchers, and… well anyone who wants to see what life was like during that period. At the moment, if you wanted to find an old paper, you would have to “pore through many thousands of microfilm reels at the Library of Congress, regional libraries and newspaper offices.” The Library of Congress has posted a sample of what is to come: The Stars and Stripes: The American Soldiers’ Newspaper of World War I, 1918-1919
One interesting side note… Notice that the end date is 1922. Want to guess why? Copyright. Anything printed in 1923 or after will not be available due to the various copyright extensions passed by Congress over the last few decades. So, sadly we will not have the same access to materials concerning World War II (having ended 59 years ago) or the Korean War (ended 51 years ago). Yet again, the American public is affected by poor copyright laws. While I applaud the efforts of the Library of Congress, and cannot wait to browse through the available pages, I think it is important for we, as citizens, to see what it could be were we to (re)adopt fair copyright practices.
Link via Creative Commons