Internet Resources for Text Publications

Publications pre-dating the Internet can be difficult to access, typically requiring a trip to a specialized library or private collection.  However, several organizations and individuals are working toward digitizing older content for an online audience.  The New York Times recently reported on the Internet republication of Liberty magazine articles as they relate to current events.  Robert Whiteman, who purchased the rights to Liberty in 1969, has collected 1,387 issues published from 1924 to 1950.  Though he hopes to ultimately sell content to publishers and producers, the website is a good resource for selected articles written by notable figures including Franklin D. Roosevelt and Frank Lloyd Wright. On a larger scale, comprehensive databases upload new periodicals and books everyday.  While much of the older data in these collections is spotty (i.e., based on availability), these are good resources to cross-check before going to the library for a paper copy:

  • Google Books enables people to browse book and magazine content with links for download or purchase. PDF excerpts are available in most cases, and in some instances the full texts will be available when the material is no longer copyrighted. Google Books acquires its content with permission of the publisher or via a network of worldwide library partners. Google News is also a good place to look for older periodicals.
  • Google News's Archive Search contains newspaper articles dating back as far back as the mid 1700s. Content summaries and previews are typically available, but the full content of these older documents will usually be available for a fee.
  • The Internet Archive houses over two million books and texts from the early 1800s to the present, collected from libraries, institutions and open source contributions. The Archive's collection ranges widely, from academic texts to periodicals originally stored on microfilm. Unlike the Google sites, most of these texts can be downloaded in their entirety at no cost.