Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The SI Vault

Given the unlimited space available on the Internet, I've often wondered why media companies could not (or would not) make all their historical archives available to the public. There are obvious questions about the labor involved and the economic angle, but there are plenty of benefits as well. (One notable exception is the New York Times, which offers limited archival information going back to 1851).

Sports Illustrated has taken a big step in this direction with the creation of the SI Vault, which is a complete record of every SI issue going back to the first one in 1954. That includes articles, covers and photos. The site is laid out so you can pick and choose what you want to see, but it's also possible to browse an entire single issue page by page, including original advertisements.

JSM applauds the effort and hopes it encourages other sports content providers to do the same. Imagine if the NFL made available on the Internet the original broadcasts of league games (and not just the ones from two or three years ago, but how about the Ice Bowl or the 1958 Colts-Giants game? Some games are available on YouTube, such as Super Bowl X).

Congratulations to SI for taking this step, which should be a big help to researchers in sports media, and especially those whose focus is history or content analysis.


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