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Archive provides useful information

December 15, 2010 - Art Smith
Occasionally I will hear from a reader saying we have an old story on our website. Guilty as charged. We have more than 22,000 old stories on the site. It’s called an archive, and most people find it very useful.

We upload stories every day to the site. Today we call it news; tomorrow we call it the archive. The point is, it remains there to be viewed by the public for whatever use they have. The articles on The Times site date back to early 2008. The articles, and the 34,000 stories on our sister site represent the largest collection of information about the Mid-Ohio Valley available anywhere on the web. Once a story is loaded on either site it is a permanent part of the site.

A reader today contacted me because he was bothered that a story from Dec. 3 was still on the site. The story happened to be in a category that does not get as many stories posted to it, so it was just a few stories from the top. Our stories load chronologically with the newest stories on top. In popular categories, such as news or local news old articles quickly get pushed down to other pages. With categories such as entertainment, articles may remain viewable on the home page and others for several days.

Every story on our site has a date stamp that indicates what day the story was loaded. More than 25 percent of pages viewed on our site are viewed by people who found the story by searching for it on Google or other search engines. These readers find the story without viewing the home page, or a category level page, first.

Other readers find the stories by using search function located at the top of each page of our site. More than 15,000 stories a month are read in this fashion.

The date stamp included on a story indicates when it was uploaded but not when it was updated. Some information on our site, such as the pages about area schools, are updated yearly, but still carry the date stamp from when they were loaded.

The date stamp provides a key piece of information for the reader, just as the printed date on the top of every page of the newspaper, it give the reader the context in which the story is presented.

“Old stories” may also be the fault of a person reading the newspaper online. If you have your computer set to cache pages it may be displaying yesterday’s news even though the site is updated. Hitting your refresh button will normally take care of the problem.


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