“ The Times newspaper's website „
The Timesonline is the Times newspaper online. It is an extension of the newspaper, but for me is one of the weakest of the UK newspapers online. As you may be aware, News International are planning to put a paywall on the Timesonline to ask people to subscribe to the news content. This is an interesting idea which has previously been attempted disasterously in America. It will be interesting to see how this experiment pans out. Times Design: The website looks fine with the Timesonline moniker on each page and a clear navigation tool from news to sport to culture to business. It is varied and has a decent amount of information, although it is less interesting and informative than many of its rivals. The site looks a bit sparse and it doesn't have the punch of other sites, it looks a bit dull, Content: This is the weak area of the website for me, whereas online papers like the Guardian or Dailymail or Telegraph have a mix of stories, blogs and online reports, the Timesonline seems to be less interested in this. Perhaps they are saving the real content for the subscribers but I am not impressed enough to pay for this over more extensive sites like the Guardian. My View: As a big sports fan I generally read the online papers for their sports content, however I don't really think the Timesonline is a good example of this. It has stories but not much beyond it, whereas the Guardian has a lot more interesting comment and blogs and really gets beyond the news. Perhaps i'm biased but I find the times website a tad twee and many of their articles are a bit dull or facile, as an example today articles include 'How to show your legs after winter' and 'why we're all eating full english breakfasts'. Neither is relevant or interesting to me, while I accept I chose these for that reason, I like to read informed comment on events and find the Times view of 'less is more' not interesting enough making it about fifth choice as an online newspaper resource for me. I won't be paying to subscribe as I don't feel I need to with other better resources on offer. Overall its a reasonable site that will appeal to certain people a great deal, unfortunately i'm not one of them.
This review focusses purely on the times online archive which I have direct experience of. I came to use this website through mmy ongoing family history research, I had an article given to me by my Dad about my great-granddad and it stated he had been in a ship which foundered off South Africa. Abit of googling on this subject bought me to an article that directly cited 3 articles in the Times on the subject (two in 1876 and one in 1877). So I ventured onto the Timesonline website and manoevred to their archive section. There were two options for searching one was by date range (which is from 1785 to 1985) and the other was by specific date, you can then add a search term to refine the result. Once you have done this and pressed "Go" it does allow you to click on the advanced search option. What I like about this is say you have a relative born pre 1985, you can input the specific date - it will bring up the fromnt page of the paper, underneath this it has a link "click here to buy historic newspaper", this then gives you the option to buy the paper embossed in a book for £44.99 and for an extra £5 they will put the name of the person and their date of birth on the paper. What I don't like - once I had bought up my selected articles - you are then required to register so that you can pay to view the articles ( I don't have a problem with this). The options available are: Day Pass £4.95, monthly subscription £14.95 and annual subscription £74.95. As I did not wish to search randomly and knew the articles I wanted I opted for the day pass and duly paid my money through their world pay system. I reverted back to the articles and was unable to view them - everytime I clicked on the links Internet 404 error messages came up. If I wasn't logged on I could see the articles but as soon as I logged on the errors occurred. I perserved over the 24 hour period but to no avail. The incident was reported to their customer service email, which generates an automated response. I was contacted 4 days later and asked to provide all sorts, details of the error, the articles I was looking for and the search terms used. At this point as my search was quite specific I thought they would provide the articles for me, but no what they did was credit the account for another 24 hours for a date and start time convenient for me. That day was today!!! This whole process has taken two weeks. I logged on, searched for the articles and clicked the first one to view and........... it bought up the payment screen. Confused? When I looked at the account details they have creditted me to view their TLS archive (?? not sure what this is but you could search from 1994 onwards not exactly the 1800s). Fuming I have paid again and viewed and saved my articles. I have now written to my direct contact at their customer service email to advise exactly of the situation and instruct them to credit back the money on Monday. My feelings - the archive is a brilliant resource which seems to be dogged by some fundamental problems which I feel could be quite eassily resolved. Another example of how good it can be is my partner searched from 1914 to 1920 using his great grandads army number as the search term and it brought up the article where his medal award was announced. What is also good is rather than you have to search the whole page to find the reference you are looking for, it highlights it on the screen. You are able to save the article as a jpeg, but it does not save the whole page of the paper only the article with the search term in, whereas it would be nice to have the whole page with the date at the top.
I love reading newspapers. Unfortunately, I'm less keen on ink on fingers and in addition to this most of my reading has to be done surripticiously at work, which is difficult with a 'real life' paper. Hence why I love online papers, and am particularly fond of thetimesonline. Thetimesonline is paper form of The Times on the internet. In terms of where it sits on the political scale I'd place it to the right of The Guardian (it doesn't print that all immigrants should be allowed to stay) and the left of The Telegraph (it also doesn't print that all immigrants should be sent home). OK, so I've used reductio ad absurdum, but you get the idea: in terms of 'broadsheets', I find it fairly middle of the political road which I personally like as it makes it more likely you will be presented with two sides of a situation in a fairly balanced way. As a newspaper in general it covers a broad range of topics and in its paper form has different 'special sections' on different days. Thus one of the instant benefits of the online form is that you can access all the 'special sections' on any day; for example, if you fancy looking at the specialist section for painted porcelain ducks which is only in the real paper on Wednesdays but it's currently Thursday, you'd be out of luck if you bought a paper newspaper but if you looked at the online version you could read last weeks section on painted porcelain ducks, and most likely a couple of weeks preceeding that too (disclaimer: I've never seen a section on porcelain ducks.) As a website it is quite slick. Its layout is clear, with obvious tabs across the top of the homepage offering quick links to specialist sections and a selection of the top newstories in a 'front page' type layout underneath, the their titles being the hyperlinks. The homepage also has a box on the right offering you the choice of looking at the 'most read', 'most commented' or 'most curious' articles of the day, which is a nice starting point if you are just idly browsing. Other good things about the website are that it is generally reliable and quick, and tends not to have too many pop-ups (my pet hate.) The fonts are easy to read and the colours used are also clear, which is nice. As you would expect from a renowned national newspaper the standard of writing is very high and in general manages to be both informative and entertaining. Overall I would thoroughly recommend it. The only downside I feel compared to a paper version is that you can't leave it by the loo!
Although the occasional article in the Times can be a little heavy going, having access to the bulk of the content for free through the miracle of the Internet means that you are able to 'flick' through content without the guilt of ignoring that tedious-looking article and bunging the remains of the paper in the recycling bin. In fact, I'm fairly confident that the future for most decent newspapers will be online-online, with revenues driven by advertising rates. The times is one of two sources that I can rely upon to offer relatively frank and open reports on current news and events without relying on trivia and filler to fill their column inches. Their international coverage in particular is good and I often find myself nodding along with comments made by their economists (ok, so maybe that's a little sad!) My one gripe with the website is the fact that I'm not the biggest fan of some of their columnists, but that's more because I don't enjoy their political style/very heavy political leanings. This shouldn't detract from your enjoyment of what is basically a very good source. Anyway, like I said at the beginning of this review, you can always 'turn the page'. Great news for no cost.
The Times/The Sunday Times are probably the best known of the broadsheet dailies in the UK, and probably the most popular - they've certainly been round a long time, but these days you don't have to bother going down the shops or forking out for a big paper version of these, and you can just slip on over to view the whole thing online at http://www.timesonline.co.uk/ although www.the-times.co.uk and www.sunday-times.co.uk will also get you to the right place and presto you've got access to the last seven days' worth of papers online for free. It certainly sounds a good deal and believe me it is, but it ain't as much value as it used to be. These days if you want to read the online version of the paper you have to register with them and give them all the standard personal details (you know what I mean - first name, surname, address, date of birth, selected user name and password, telephone number, mobile number and mobile network) and you know they've inevitably going to be used to flog on to some marketing organisations for all sorts of dodgy deals, even though you get the standard privacy clause, and you have to tick the box to tell them not to contact you. Now I don't like this sort of thing and will usually submit dubious info just to maintain my privacy because you wouldn't believe how easy it is to steal people's identity online these days (in fact, a couple of months ago, the Sunday Times' Doors section revealed details of exactly how easy it is, and you wouldn't believe the simplicity for those of a certain bent), but then The Times ain't really too bad or good in that disregard, just as unsavoury as everyone else. The other prob is that The Times has excellent archived material and is one of the most authoritative publications around. Unfortunately, since February this year they've made it policy that they charge for everything more than a week old. You can get free access to the last seven days right enough (as long as you use your user name and password), but they charge you for anything older, although they do now hold searchable text details going back to 1985 (which is a lot better than the 1996 they used to offer), but they charge quite a bit these days for the privilege. Pricing details are as follows: £1 per article Minimum payment £10 £10 10 downloads = £1 per article £25 30 downloads = 83p per article £65 85 downloads = 76p per article £200 400 downloads = 50p per article £500 2000 downloads = 25p per article £1000 5000 downloads = 20p per article £1500 10000 downloads = 15p per article £2000 20000 downloads = 10p per article Now, I don't know about you, but I think these are pretty heavy charges, and I'm certainly not going to be forking out that sort of money for the privilege. Okay, rant over and believe me that's the only downsides to this marvellous site and pretty much everything else is bee's knees type stuff. Suffice to say that if you like The Times (good, authoritative, challenging writing on interesting subjects) than you'll doubtless love The Times Online. The website is reasonably intuitively laid out and the predominantly white presentation means that it loads up pretty quickly, though much of the site is devoted to text only reads without many graphics or photos. The left bar menu gives you access to the following main subject areas (as of today): Britain Politics The Euro Foot-and-Mouth Spending Review 2002 College of Law Results Breaking News World Business Sport Your Money Comment Sports Book Travel Shopping Classifieds Law Games Crossword Appointments Arts Books Clearing 2002 Contact Us Creme Education Film First night Food and Drink From the Archive Good University Guide Health Motoring Online Specials Play Promotions Property Subscription Supplements Talking Point Television and Radio The Register Times e-mail Times 2 Times Services Weekend Really, it's just exactly the same as the newspaper version (and you can read my wonderful review of the paper elsewhere, treasures). Suffice to say, my fave bits are in the Sport section and The Times is mandatory reading for anyone interested in footie who wants more than The Sun's morons can offer on our natural game. Now if only they'd see sense and reconsider their charging policy for archive access, everything would be perfect, but it ain't going to happen, is it...
How many times do you buy a paper, read a few articles, get print all over yourself (and any white paint!), then leave the papers piling up in the armchair, until you put the rubbish out a week later? A familiar scenario? Well, if so, then I can heartily recommend www.thetimes.co.uk. It's a site which contains everything you would find in the paper edition, but saves on waste, and allows you to access the relevant articles quickly, and, more importantly, for free - saving you the trip to the paper shop too! The Times has always been my favourite paper, for its relatively unbiased, well-written, clear and accessible articles, which cover a wide variety of topics and extra features such as health, culture, television – you get the general idea. I will not go into detail about every single thing that this paper covers – I am sure there are many reviews of the Times itself on Dooyoo which will cover that. Rather, this opinion is to point out what the website in particular has to offer. The same articles that you find in the paper are on the internet, divided into the same sections. The front page has a few main headlines, in varying font sizes to reflect their importance, which you can click on, taking you straight to the story, or you can choose from one of the menus at the top of the page, taking you to either:- · British News · World News · Sport · Business · Comment · Features · Specials This is particularly useful – means that someone like me who hates sport and business news, has only a mild interest in world news, but devours the general British news can go straight to this section, which will then list all the British stories in the day’s paper, placing them roughly in order of importance, keeping them collected together in themes – for example today, the top stories were about Portillo running for leadership of the Tory party. I find this much better than wad ing through a paper to find the articles I am interested in – this way I can guess from the headlines which stories are likely to interest me most, read them first, and then go back to the others later on in the day when I have more time. Clicking on a headline will take me straight to that story, although sometimes I find that the headlines sound particularly enticing and then the story is a bit of a letdown – but that’s the way with Dooyoo too – how often do you click on an opinion with sex in the title and then realise it’s only about a mundane household object? I guess the writers for the Times have certainly mastered the art of headline writing! However, I do find that sometimes the stories can be slower to load than I would like. This is because an advert is placed at the top of each page – this irritates the hell out of me, but I would rather see an annoying advert than pay money, and getting the equivalent to a newspaper for free suits a stinge like me! Sometimes, the main news stories which have photos can also take a while to load, and I think it would better if there was an option to read the story without seeing the photo – after all, you can easily switch the TV on to see the action! The ‘Features’ menu is one of my favourites. It includes the features of the day – such as the recent A-Z on children’s health for example, but also the features which have been printed over the last few days. This is particularly useful if they build up into a collection – such as some of the league tables on education. The rankings of the UK universities for example can be found here. Each main category of feature is divided into subcategories, making it quick and easy to find the information you are looking for, but also giving you the opportunity to browse some of the sections you might be interested in. You learn a lot this way – reading the articles on here is surprising ly addictive - although after spending a while on Dooyoo I always look for the rating button at the bottom! They are all of a good length – long enough to interest you, but not long enough to get boring. Absolutely everything from the real paper seems to be here. For example, there is a ‘comment’ section which includes the letters to the editor, the cartoon of the day, and things such as obituaries, and the court and social information. Crossword addicts – don’t despair. You can even fill in the crossword on line! One of the main advantages that the website has over the paper version is that it has the breaking news on it. This is particularly useful – often the morning papers are out of date by the time you get round to reading them. This way you won’t even need to switch on the TV in the morning! This is a relatively new feature, and one I was very pleased to see introduced. Other extras about the site are: · The opportunity to have the breaking news delivered to your email or to your mobile phone · Setting up a student email account through the Times · Taking part in the fantasy shares game · Searching the databases for job vacancies – much easier than just looking through the papers, as this way you can really search for what you are interested in, and be alerted when jobs matching your keywords are advertised. Finally, there is also a search facility, allowing you to search the Times' archive of articles by a keyword. This is speedy, but I have not been very successful when I have used it. I remember once I did a search on St Andrews, to see if there was any information on the plan to make a film about life here, but all I could find were articles about Prince William, and some articles totally unrelated to St Andrews. I know for a fact that there was an article about the proposed film on the site a while back, so was disappointed that it didn’t turn up in the list of search results. The search function to me lets down what would otherwise be a superb site. So – to sum up, the internet version of the Times is free, easy to navigate, comprehensive, containing the same articles as the paper version, and is only let down by the poor search facility, and to a lesser extent, by the slow speed that some of the pages take to load. Admittedly you can’t take the net version on the train with you, but if like me you eat breakfast at the computer, then it is easy to read whilst gulping down your coffee – it stays open at the page you want and doesn’t cover your fingers in print! There is no overcrowding of your rubbish bin with all the unwanted articles either – a definite bonus, and environmentally friendly.