Permanence is one of the five most important characteristics of the web (the other four being capacity, immediacy, flexibility, and interactivity), as explained in chapter 1 of Web Journalism. Until now. it has not been the subject of much discussion. But a high-level conference on blogging and journalism at Harvard University last week has spurred thinking about one part of the idea of permanence – archiving.
Many major news organizations, beginning with the New York Times, charge for accessing files that are more than a week or two old. Placing these files behind a tollgate has some important implications for the web and the activities that it has engendered.
Update: Mark Glasser of the Online Journalism Review has just posted an article on this topic that gives a more in-depth explanation of the view of newspapers that charge for their archieves. One of the article’s conclusions is that while the revenue gained from archive sales and afer-market database sales (such as LexisNexis) is not huge, it is significant, and most news organizations do not want to give that up. (Posted Feb. 3, 2005)
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