Trying to remember the advice that appeared in the “How To Improve Your Memory” issue from last year? Need a little background information on George Bush the elder for that history paper you’re working on? Want to prove to your pal that Joel Stein is really and truly engaged to be married?
The answers, dear reader, are all to be found in the newly launched TIME archive. The online archive goes back to 1985 and contains the full text of the more than 25,000 TIME stories that have appeared over the past 16 years. An easy-to-use search function allows you to pinpoint quickly the most relevant TIME article on any topic.
Over the past couple of years, we have spent a lot of TIME talking to TIME readers about how the Internet could enhance and extend the mission of TIME. The idea that got folks most excited was the ability to access and search TIME’s archive online.
Presto. You can find the TIME archive at www.time.com/archive or you can go to the time.com home page and use the search tool. Let’s see, Didn’t Margaret Carlson write a column a few years ago about older mothers having children? Enter “Margaret Carlson” and “older mothers” in Search, hit the arrow button, and voila, there it is on your screen.
Knowledge is power, all the sages say, but that doesn’t mean it’s free. Each article will cost you $2.50, but if you know you’ll need quite a few, you might consider an unlimited day pass for $4.95, or a 30-day pass for $9.95. Plus, we offer a year’s subscription to the archive for $49.95. TIME subscribers get the whole previous year free, and can purchase an online subscription to the archive for the discounted price of $29.95.
The archive officially opened for business June 27, and since then we’ve had nearly 1.5 million searches. The two “best selling” articles so far have been “Closing in on Cancer,” from May of this year, and “Talking to the Dead,” a story from March about dance instructor turned medium John Edward. The “best selling” article from before 1990 is “Everyone’s Genealogical Mother,” a story from 1987 about a scientific report that suggests that an African female living a couple of hundred thousand years ago may have been humanity’s single ancestor.
The archive is a wonderful place for students to do some fast research. The archive’s Student Center makes searching especially quick by offering a list of frequently researched topics, along with the best TIME articles on each subject. So, you have to write a 20-page term paper on cloning? The archive’s Student Center has the topic covered. Cautionary note to 11th-graders: plagiarism occurs when you don’t put someone else’s prose in quotation marks.
But the archive is also just a fun place to browse. You can go to the cover collection and look at the cover images by year. One of my favorites is an elegant Al Hirschfeld line drawing of Jay Leno from 1992. Of course, I also wrote that story, but then, you can look that up in the TIME archive.
Richard Stengel, Managing Editor, TIME.com