A very useful source for research, NYTimes .com Topics Pages, was reported in the February 2009 issue of The Cyberskeptic’s Guide to Internet Research.  According to Times Topics,

Each topic page collects all the news, reference and archival information, photos, graphics, audio and video files published on topics ranging from Madonna to Myanmar[…]

Times Topics also includes links to key documents, speeches and reports.  You can find Topic pages by using the alphabetical index at the top of page, by clicking on hyperlinks within news stories or by entering terms in the website search bar. 

This is an excellent start for research on “more than 14,000 subjects.”  Some topics like the Credit Crisis, are covered more thoroughly than others like Organic Gardening; however all include links to archived news stories going back to 1981.

Traffic increases from search engines has led The New York Times to stop charging for online access to TimeSelect and other portions of the site, according to a NYT article published September 18, Times to Stop Charging for Parts of Its Web Site.  TimesSelect includes “the work of its columnists and to the newspaper’s archives.” Other portions to be made available September 18 at midnight include “its archives from 1987 to the present […] as well as those from 1851 to 1922.  Some materials from 1923 to 1986 will still be subject to charge.

The change, according to The Times, was that “many more readers started coming to the site from search engines and links on other sites instead of coming directly to NYTimes.com.  These indirect readers, unable to get access to articles behind the pay wall and less likely to pay subscription fees than the more loyal direct users, were seen as opportunities for more page views and increased advertising revenue.”

“What wasn’t anticipated was the explosion in how much of our traffic would be generated by Google, by Yahoo and some others,” said Vivian L. Schiller, senior vice president and general manager of the site, NYTimes.com.

So, Lexis or Westlaw may be perfect for searching across the archives of a number of newspapers at once, but if you are looking specifically for a New York Times article, check the NYTimes.com first.  You may just find it for free.

Here’s an excellent article by Jenkins Law Library’s Internet Librarian, Dan Giancaterino, about the online resources available from your local library. The article, Better Than Google: Libraries Offer Online Databases With Quality Information — For Free, was published in the Spring 2007 issue of The Philadelphia Lawyer, p.56, and discusses how you might find information on 14 million companies from ReferenceUSA, the schematic for your car’s electrical system from the Auto Repair Reference Center and the full text of articles from the New York Times, all for free.

If you have a membership cards for your local library, such as the Free Library of Philadelphia, you can access databases and services covering news, biographies, science, and more, from home or work. From the Free Library’s site, you may even download audiobooks and music to your pc and transfer to your MP3 player.  Click here for a list of databases available at the Free Library.  You are eligible for a membership card if you “live, work, pays taxes, or go to school in the City of Philadelphia.”  Click here to apply for a card, or check out your local libray today!

Check out this excellent review of web-based sources you can use for searching the news. Cindy Chick at LawLibTech’s recent post,  Old News? Google News! talks about the differences between the premium news aggregators, Lexis and Westlaw, and the free web-based aggregators such as Yahoo News and Google News.  What’s the difference? The short answer: historical archives versus up-to-the minute news coverage.  But with Google’s new Google News Archive Search, you can go further back in time, some 200 years.  Although you may be prompted to purchase many of the articles from Google News Archive Search, membership at your local public library may get you remote access through an online subscription such as Americas Newspapers

When it comes to using search engines, we should always be looking for incentives to step outside our comfort zone.  Love Google, always have; love its simplicity, gmail, GoogleEarth, and am a big fan of my personalized Google Homepage for news at a glance and all manner of useful widgets.  That said, check out LibrarianInBlack‘s post on Ten Reasons Librarians Should Use Ask.com Instead of Google.   It’s always a good idea to run your searches through a different search engine if you really care about your results. Thanks to Nicole at What I Learned Today for that!

World War II era newsreels such as Marines Raise Flag Over Iwo Jima [Etc.] 1945, Funeral of President Roosevelt [Etc.] 1945, and NASA History videos such as The John Glenn Story 1963, are among the videos from the National Archives and Records Administration that are now available online thanks to a project from Google Video.  These public domain videos are being added “in stages to put as many as possible of the National Archives’ 114,000 film reels and 37,000 videos online, according to this story from CNETGoogle puts National Archives video online.  Thanks to Library Crunch and K&E Research Services for that.

The web site for National Public Radio (NPR) includes a Books Page which gives you an opportunity to listen to recent book reviews and interviews with authors.  Recent stories cover Philip Roth’s new book, Everyman, two recent books celebrating the history of Appalachia, and New Yorker editor, David Remnick’s new book, Reporting.