A search engine has been added to the Catholic Courier site, enabling readers to look for past articles on various topics, according to Karen Franz, general manager/editor. Franz noted that the paper’s online archive went “live” on April 15.
In part, this search engine as well as an online archive feature of older content were created to respond to reader demand, Franz said.
“People continually ask for old articles that have either been deactivated on the site … or never were available online,” Franz said. “People also ask for back issues in print and/or clippings.”
Franz and Donna Stubbings, the Courier‘s circulation manager, both said the Courier occasionally gets requests from readers looking for old features.
“Most of the time it’s a relative of somebody, who heard that there was a story about their relative in the paper,” Stubbings said of readers requesting old articles.
All articles published since April 2004 are currently available, as well as a few articles published each week between 2001 and March 2004. The Courier hopes within the next year or so to get all articles since 1980 into the online archive.
“Eventually, regardless of year, we’ll hope to post all significant local news stories,” Franz added, noting that such items as past calendar notices and briefs probably will be excluded due to the cost of digitization. The focus of the project will be on more important articles, Franz said
Thus far, the newspaper has spent more than $4,000 on programming costs for the archive feature, Franz said, noting that the Courier will incur additional expense to add older articles that must be scanned from microfilm and formatted for the Web. Hence, the entire process probably will take years, she said, noting that the Courier hopes to eventually archive some articles published as far back as 1889, when the paper was started.
Franz said the archive feature is “one way to make our site more attractive to readers,” adding that she is unaware of any other U.S. Catholic newspaper that offers such a feature on its Web site. She also noted that a searchable online archive also will be useful for the Courier’s staff.
Making the Courier archive available online is another step in the Web-site component of the Courier’s strategic plan. In addition to the Web-site expansion, this plan called for the Courier to shift in April 2004 from a single 45,000-circulation weekly edition, to a 115,000-circulation monthly edition plus three regionalized weekly editions that are inserted in parish bulletins.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story formerly indicated that registration was required to access the archive search. That requirement has been eliminated, and the reference to it has been removed from this story.