The BBC reported today that Google is launching an online news archive that can search digitized news documents from the past 200 years.
The service draws from various sources, including free service providers, subscriptions sites, and news aggregators, though free and pay-per-view results are displayed side by side. Searchers can sort their results by chronological periods with links on the left side of the results page, but you might find that older results, pre 1900, all cost money to read. Also, article before about 1950 come from decidedly few sources…usually TIME magazine or London’s Guardian.
An interesting tool for research, yes. Useful to the average searcher who isn’t willing to pay for articles, no. It might be handy for pointing students and researchers in the right direction, but at this point it is more useful to browse the online collections and subscriptions offered through your university library’s Web site.