It has taken a year. But every story and feature that has appeared in the New York Times since it was founded in 1851 is now available on line. That includes the election and assassination of Abraham Lincoln, the sinking of the Titanic to the landings in Normandy in WW2. Even birth and death announcements. “A major project, very arduous – but worth it” a spokesman for the paper said. “Readers can now travel through time at the click of a mouse”
Access to the archives is free to regular subscribers to the paper, or for $50 a year to access a special service, Times Select, which was launched a year ago – and now has about 200,000 subscribers. Non-subscribers will be still able to download individual articles, but for a fee.
The new online access to its archives is one of the most ambitious projects by any newspaper in the US. It amounts, a spokesman said, to a century and a half long chronicle of American and world history. It also traces a picture of New York City, first clogged with horse drawn traffic and slums, to its present status as a world financial and tourist capital.
For some days now staff at the NY Times have had access to the new service, using it both for work and amusement. Some typed in their family names to see what comes up. “One person” said the spokesman “put in the address of the building in which they lived and found that Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe once lived there.”
Although it wasn’t at first well received, the new Times-Select service has now become accepted – and the number of new subscribers is steadily climbing. It has brought in about $6 million in extra income this year so far. Some NYT columnists at first were less than thrilled that some people would have to pay to read their columns, and also that sometimes their columns were being pirated and used on other web-sites without their permission. The Times claims most of these problems have now been solved.