What’s the difference between Digital Archiving and E-Editions?

By: Brad Buchanan

There is often confusion over the difference between newspaper digital archives and the creation of E-Editions. Both use uploaded content, both are housed on internal servers, and both use many of the same computer processes. But there are fundamental differences between the two services which should be highlighted.

Digital archiving is a relatively simple activity. Once content is uploaded from the publishers to our servers, we crunch the content through a series of programs to make it text-searchable. The material is then stored in a folder than can be accessed by newspaper personnel, and searched using several different parameters, such as keyword terms and date ranges.

Each paper’s electronic archive becomes the digital equivalent of traditional archives, printed pages bundled by date and stored in a back room. The primary difference is fast and efficient searchability, along with off-site storage to prevent loss of archives in case of fire, natural catastrophes, and other unforeseen events. Archives are generally meant for internal use by publishing houses, although there are options available that would allow outside users to access them.

E-Editions, by contrast, are electronic representations of current newspaper content available over the internet, designed for consumption by the public. For E-Editions, uploaded content is first curated in much the same way as archives, but additional programs are used to make it presentable and user-friendly for news consumers, and then uploaded to the newspaper’s web site.

Different publishers market their E-Editions in many different ways, and the system is designed to allow each e-edition to be tailored to the needs of individual newspapers. Some newspapers add a nominal fee to annual subscription prices, and make E-Editions available to all subscribers who want to use them. Other publishers use pay-walls, where subscribers must sign up and pay extra for e-edition access. Some make their E-Editions available to anyone, in an effort to enhance subscription sales.

For all E-Editions, the publisher is in complete control of how they want their content accessed, and what they charge for it. Newspaper personnel handle all the money from subscribers, they set up and delete users, and they customize the e-edition model to suit their specific needs. Newz Group serves strictly as a back-end contractor, performing e-edition services at a flat monthly rate.

In sum, the easiest way to differentiate newspaper archives from E-Editions is that archives are generally designed for internal use by newspaper personnel, while E-Editions are posted to a web site for public consumption, based on the publisher’s business model. Both are necessary components for newspapers in the age of the internet, but they are two totally different services in practical terms.


To help explain it further, we have created a infographic to help simplify what happens.

What's the difference