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:
- Burchell's Zebra
- An Alcohol-Acetylene Mixture for Internal-Combustion Engines
- Latest Designs of the Motor in Warfare
- How Compressed Air Raised a Sunken Ship. The Remarkable Salving of the Steamship " Bavarian"
- Controlling Torpedoes by Wireless Telegraphy
- An Interesting German Flying Machine
- The Story of a Silk Hat
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.