This is something of a Associated Pressbig story for old-school news geeks:

Two days ago, an organization known as Gale, which is part of the Kentucky-based Cengage Learning, a digital solutions provider, announced an agreement with the Associated Press to digitize [its] corporate archives, “including millions of pages of news copy (some never-before published), bureau records, correspondence, the personal papers of reporters and more,” according to a release.

Gale has been involved in similar large-scale partnerships in the past with the Smithsonian Institution and the National Geographic Society. The company is referring to its partnership with the A.P. as an event that will help “Gale get one step closer to bringing historical materials beyond their physical constraints and into the forefront of research and learning.”

Which is fantastic news, especially for journalism schools and the very lucky students who will have the unprecedented and historical opportunity to enjoy and learn from the A.P. archives.

As for those of us who’ve long since left the confines of the ivory tower, though, it’s not yet entirely just how accessible these reports and documents will be once the multi-year project is complete. “The digitized records,” according to the release, “will be incorporated into digital reference products for the academic markets.” Gale has revealed, however, that along with academic libraries, the A.P. documents will likely show up in some high schools and public libraries.

During this particular project, Gale says, the company “will work with an advisory board of professors and subject matter experts to guide the development of the digital products, with the first products available within the next year.”


  1. Back in the day when the affairs of men, women, beasts and machines were recorded primarily in newspapers, a scholar needed only to rummage the newsprint stored in libraries and elsewhere. It was all freely available to anyone who could read.
    As we move away from print and toward digital containers for text, still and moving images with sound, the hounds of commerce are finding new ways to sell and re-sell and re-sell the same bits. It seems they have learned a lesson or two about information in and on fixed media.
    History is now for rent.

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