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Thursday, December 08, 2011


up front i am admitting that this is a very petty moan.
but petty is my middle name.

i saw this report on the bbc website about the british library putting online its newspaper archive. wow! i thought (no really just like that: wow).
i go over to the site. i am all excited. almost aquiver.

the first thing i notice is the bold headline telling me "search the archive for free" (the free being in a different typeface and capitals).
ooops i should have realised.
this is free in the sense that amazon is free to search.
this is free in the sense that some photography magazines will boast about the free catalogue you are getting with that issue.

yes it is free to search. so you can see that there was an illustrated police news during february 1867 - but you can't see what was in it.
you can even search by key words to see what the manchester evening news had to say about karl marx back in 1873 or you might note that the bath chronicle had an interview with mr. marx in august 1871.

what you can't do is view the search that you have found.
to do that you have to subscribe.
so it is not free in the actual sense of the word that most people use.
the site's welcoming headline is true and accurate but still just a tad misleading.

it is all further compounded when on investigation to the subscriptions (£80 12-month unlimited subscription) you discover the other mangled word of the internet vocabulary: unlimited.
unlimited is such a simple word. it means without limit. see simple.
not in the world of the internet. in the world of the internet unlimited always comes with its twin 'fair use policy' - which bascially means it isn't really unlimited. so why call it unlimited, oh for the same reason they call it free.
because they can.

as i say it is a very petty moan on my part.
one day i will have a subscription to the site as i am sure that interview with karl marx rocks.

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