Thursday 4 December 2003

Fewer links

I have noticed that links that I have made to the Glasgow Herald no longer work other than on the day of publication. It looks as though this has been the case since the Herald upgraded its website and started to charge £1.95 for access to backdated articles. In future therefore I shall not link directly to Herald articles but may copy small extracts under the “fair use” principle. This is a sad development. As an unreconstructed capitalist I do of course accept that the Herald has every right to operate its website in any way it chooses. I do think however that the paper is making a mistake. How many people are going to pay £1.95 to read a newspaper article?

The rival Scotsman has an excellent website with full access to backdated issues. I presume that the Edinburgh paper wants to attract as much attention as possible through the internet and I note that it carries advertisements on its individual news pages, not just on the homepage. The Scotsman has won an award as “Britain’s Best Daily Newspaper Website”.

It looks as if the Sunday Herald is not operating this new policy. Good. As far as the Herald itself is concerned I find it rather disconcerting to read that paid access to its backdated articles ("Scotland's national news archive") is “governed by and constructed in accordance with the laws of the State of Michigan”.