lundi, septembre 11, 2006

yesterday once more

My old friend Alexander Akin sent me a 1950's French elementary school textbook last week. It whitewashes things like colonialism and has an unflattering take on Julius Caesar (surprise, surprise). It's fascinating to look at these artifacts of the past and see how one culture saw another at a given point in time.

It's even more fun to get those snapshots of our past (when they were still considered current events) and then place them in a larger context. The new Google news archive search makes it really, really easy.
Official Google Blog: History as it unfolds
"And now you can find those contemporary details (and more current ones as always) through through a new archive search feature of Google News. This new feature can help you explore history through archives of news and other information sources. You can search for events, people and ideas, and see how they have been described over time. If you were to seek information on the 1969 moon landing, now you can find original coverage from that year, as well as analysis, news and commentary from the 37 years following.

Based on relevance, the archive results on Google News include freely available articles from sources such as, The Guardian and many others, as well as snippets of articles available for a fee or via subscription. These may come from news organizations like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, and also from news aggregators like, ThomsonGale, Factiva, HighBeam™ Research, LexisNexis and others.

In addition to finding the most relevant articles for your query, you can get an historical overview of the results by browsing an automatically created timeline. Articles related to a single story or theme within a given time period are grouped together to enable you to see a broad perspective on the events. The archive search results include articles about an incredibly wide variety of topics, people and events over the last 200 years or so. About kings and battles, yes, but also about athletes and games, political dramas, crimes, romances and much, much else.

History is often presented to us with a viewpoint many years after it happens -- and it's frequently smoothed over in many ways, and for many reasons. Here's hoping archive search in Google News can help you read about history as it has unfolded, and explore and understand the past for yourself.

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