Joi Ito’s blog carries the wonderful news that the Library of Congress is working to digitize 30 million old newspaper pages and put them online for entirely free use by educators, students and anyone else interested in the history they reveal.
The articles cover the period from 1836 thru 1922 and, as such, are in the public domain. A test sample of articles from the military publication Stars and Stripes is already online, with the next batch expected to be released sometime in 2006.
I wonder which historian will be the first to edit and compile this material into a public domain textbook? Surely there will be more than one.
“American amnesia is dangerous,” says Bruce Cole, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities [which is supporting the project]. “Democracy is not self-sustaining; it needs to be learned and passed down from generation to generation. We have to know our great founding principles, how our institutions came into being, how they work, what our rights and responsibilities are.”
Amen to that.