Long tail of the New York Times

Sunday Magazine (SundayMagazine.org) is a terrific use of the public domain archive. Founded originally by David Friedman, the project has been picked up and continued under Jesse Rifkin, a young writer with a wide-ranging stable of projects.

Weekly posts on the website highlight that same week's section of the New York Times Sunday magazine, from precisely 100 years ago. Not affiliated with the paper itself, the blog is using material now beyond copyright. We'd like to think the gray lady approves; the presentation is both dignified and relevant.

The PDF copies are not always the easiest to read on screen, and Rifkin mentions in an explainer that automated scanning and transcription to plain text has its own set of technical hurdles.

Aesthetically, though, the original presentation of these editions is every bit as interesting as the copy itself.

From January of 1918, NY Times Sunday piece on the trend of using photography to illustrate fiction.

There's a very real tendency in print publishing to push a PDF to the web: quick, preserves that layout work already done, etc. More often though, this is a sluggish way to approach digital products, and we can all agree that reading PDF's on mobile phones is nothing short of punishment. But in certain cases, the format can shine as a web product. This one, for example.

Rifkin adds a bit of commentary to each post, providing context and sidebar linking. It's quite a treasure trove.