Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Google News Archive and other news

Welcome to a new semester! First a little housekeeping--I don't think much has changed since the last Passwords post, except that WebCT/Vista now has a new URL:
Most online classes will be in Online CSU; most hybrid (in class and online) will be in Southern. Be sure to choose the right one. Online CSU still has a separate ID and password--if you are newly registered and haven't gotten a Southern ID number yet, contact the Registrar. You will need your Southern ID for library access.

On to the News! Google News, or actually Google News Archive. Residing at and linked off the Google News main search page, the archive search covers 200 years of news archives from a variety of news publishers, including the New York Times and the Washington Post, and news aggregators such as Factiva and Lexis-Nexis. If these sound like our databases, you're right--many of these sources are subscriber based, and have no free access other than the headline and sometimes an abstract. Google mixes free and for-fee sources in the results, with indications of cost or subscription status in the results.

It's also a little unclear when something becomes part of the "archive". I looked up "Iraq", assuming that Iraq has been in the U.S. papers nearly every day, and the most recent result was Sept. 8, 2006--about a week. Google does not give a time span anywhere that I can find, however. (Actually, Google seems to be saying very little, which is not uncommon. There is a single press release, the help file, and nothing on the Google Blog so far.)

Not that I think the Archive Search is useless or redundant if you have access to newspaper archives like our databases. I really like the Timeline feature, which orders the stories by date, and the fact that you can limit the regular display by date range and source. There are also plenty of free and open sources, including Newspaper Archive's free archives, which are a treasure trove in and of themselves. In the advanced search, you can limit to free articles (or at least to articles that Google believes are free.

I also like the fact that the results include Supreme Court cases from FastCase (subscription required--we don't have this one. Court cases can be searched in Lexis-Nexis Academic.) Especially in the Timeline view, seeing the court cases and the news together makes for an interesting view on history that I don't think is represented outside of books.

You will, in general, have to switch back and forth between a Google News Archive Search and our databases to read full text. Hopefully, Google will add the linking service now available through Google Scholar: go into Google Scholar preferences and choose Southern as your library. You will see links into our Journal Locator in your results. I also added OCLC's WorldCat to my Google Scholar results for books. You can also select Refworks as your biblographic manager (reference saver).

Enjoy the semester!


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