If you love your information, set it free

The New York Times has finally put Times Select out of our misery. But wait, there’s more!
The Times is also releasing its archives from bondage. At least, all stories after 1987 or before 1923. Stories published between 1923 and 1986 are still for sale.
This is tremendously good news for everyone:
Times Digital stands to benefit the most. I’ve been convinced for a long time that the only role for Time Select was to protect the printed newspaper from cannibalization. The Web is now free to compete with print to be the main platform for the Times’s news.
Maureen Dowd, Tom Friedman, Paul Krugman, and plenty of other columnists whose work should be some of the most-linked-to material on the Web will find a new and enthusiastic audience. As well as millions of people who don’t like their stuff, but can’t bear not to link to it.
Bloggers will be able to freely and permanent link to important news stories and columns, as well as past stories that place today’s news into meaningful context.
Web users will be more likely to read Times’s archives from links in blogs than from the paper’s database interface. The Times will become the most authoritative source for background information on a wide variety of topics. Not only will take some of that traffic from Wikipedia, it will certainly become an important source for Wikipedia. This is definitely not a zero-sum game.
And all these links will create a rich context of metadata that will add value to the the Times’s content.
Other news organizations — from community weeklies to national dailies — should take this as a signal that it is now officially insane to keep past stories off the grid. It’s not just selfish, it’s bad business.
I’m excited about the role of intermediaries in the news business. In my research, I have found that the Times is missing out on a great deal of traffic from intermediaries ranging from Google News to the Drudge Report. Not only will the Times be able to make up for lost time, they have positioned themselves to take advantage of one of the most important strategic trends in online media.
Originally published on my blog at JupiterResearch.