Stephen Taylor of “Blogging Tories” has just released the Newspaper Viewer, a nifty website that lets you look at the front page of a lot of Canadian newspapers from the last couple of years. Designed in Flash and looking very like the iTunes jukebox albumn cover view, it presents you with an image that is somewhat legible. However, if you want to read the page, double-clicking on it will bring up a PDF version.
This has some potential to be a useful research tool, at least so far as major, i.e. front page, stories are concerned, and insofar as you can remember roughly when the story might have broken. It’s also fun.
Taylor has a brief description of the making of the viewer here. He talks about collecting, via a script he wrote, the PDFs of 15 newspaper front pages a day; but he doesn’t go into the copyright problems that their publication might raise, except indirectly on the site itself, where it’s acknowledged that the copyrights belong to the papers and stated that their reuse is justified under the “fair dealings” clause of the Copyright Act for the purpose of “media research.” I’m also unclear as to where he gets the PDFs from. Though the Globe and Mail, for example, puts jpegs of their front pages on line, they don’t, so far as I can tell, publish PDFs. My best guess is that they come from Newseum, which has created and published PDFs of newspaper front pages for some years now and does so pursuant to an arrangement with each newspaper.