Friday, April 30, 2010

My Experience with Google News Archive

Yesterday I was happy to a post by Taneya on NCGenWeb (via her Twitter account @Taneya), that Google had added newspaper image browsing to its News Archive. I looked down the list of newspaper offerings and didn't find any newspapers from where my ancestors lived (which is usually the case). But I did find that The Toledo Blade was available from 1874-2006. Since my husband has lots of ancestors from Toledo (and he didn't go through the microfilm when we were in Toledo last weekend), I decided to search for some obituaries to add to his family tree.

Here are some of my observations after using Google News Archives' newspaper browsing:
  • The image quality is very low. It depends on the issue, but I found the images to be scanned at a much lower quality than other newspaper sites. It made them hard to read and I couldn't get very good images from them to add to my files.
  • You can't save the images. I used the "Snipping Tool" in Windows 7 that allows me to get a snapshot of any part of my screen that I want.
  • I was unable to search the images. The OCR scans seemed to be lacking, possibly due to the poor image quality. So you pretty much have to browse these newspapers.
  • The newspaper editions are not properly sorted. I found that Google said that issues were missing that were actually included in the previous date's images. Make sure you browse the editions before and after a missing date and you might find what you are seeking.
Google does lots of things great. But I was not impressed with this new feature. Although I obtained many obituaries, I found the process to be lacking. I am used to much higher quality images and the ability to search within them. I hope to see Google improve the News Archive experience and add more newspapers in the future.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this post and the information. I will have to find out where the google newspapers are located.