The New York Times is using Google Cloud technology to digitize an extensive collection of photographs dating back to as early as the late 19th century, the company said. The process will uncover some never-before-seen-documents, equip Times journalists with an easily accessible historical reference source, and preserve The Times’s history, a news release said.
Prior to the digitization, millions of photographs, along with tens of millions of historical news clippings, microfilm records and other archival materials, existed only in a physical archive three levels below ground near The Times headquarters in New York City called “The New York Times Archival Library,” also known as the “morgue.”
“We’ve always known that we were sitting on a trove of historical photos and now, cloud technology allows us to not only preserve this archival source, but easily search and pull photos to provide even more historical context,” said Monica Drake, assistant managing editor, The New York Times. “Ultimately, this digitalization will equip Times journalists with useful tools to make it easier to tell even more visual stories.”
The newsroom will use the digitized archives to inspire stories for Past Tense, a body of coverage dedicated to revisiting history.