A Beautiful New Scientific American Archive (Which Is Free for a Short Time)

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The grand old magazines of the world have had a hell of a time getting their content into digital form. While I think a business case can be made for building out an archive, creating the focus and finding the money to do so has been tough. Many of the magazines with long, glorious histories (our own included) have not built proper homes for their content from 1961, let alone 1861.

Check out the new Scientific American archive on Nature.com. It's glorious. Not only has every article been scanned from 1845 to present, BUT -- and this is important -- each one is fully searchable and linked with the traditional table of contents. Each article is available in its original format, too, which makes for fun serendipitous encounters with weird stuff. They've also made it easy to link to any individual article. Take the March 23, 1909 issue. I can see at a glance that all of these awesome articles are contained within:

Not on the slate of stories is a short item on a "dry shampoo," which sounds intriguing, indeed.


The downside to all this great stuff is that the archive is only free through the end of November. Nature hasn't disclosed pricing and makes you "request a quote," which always makes me think that whatever the price is, it's too expensive for me. All that to say: dig in while you can. They've done a great job.
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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com, where he also oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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