Naver, the leading search engine in South Korea, has a long history of pioneering Web technologies since it launched in 1999. Many of its tools and services have anticipated those of much larger players, making it a key site to watch for leading-edge innovations. Take, for example, its impressive new bridge between print and digital cultures, the Naver Digital News Archive.
Although the content is entirely in Korean, the Digital News Archive is still worth exploring for the beauty and smoothness of its execution. It presents faithful, magnifiable color facsimiles of every page of every issue, from 1960 through 1995, of three leading Korean newspapers. While these digital scans can't replace actual print, they're miles ahead of the inconvenient experience that is microfilm. So that alone is an impressive trick. But it's not Naver's only trick.
The site displayes images of pages from the print editions. When you mouse over a particular story, it will be highlighted, letting you know you can retrieve the full text. (Click on the link at the upper-right-hand corner to get the complete demo; in that version, each story links to a full text transcript). Another link lets you save the story to a personal scrapbook, which keeps your selections in a collapsible tray at the bottom of the window.
The site is a model of interface design that I hope will inspire English-language information services. It's an impressive example of the rich and satisfying new experiences enabled by HTML5. And with a browser such as Internet Explorer 9, with its superior support for HTML5 and its blink-of-an-eye image processing power, you don't need to read a single word of Korean to appreciate the beautiful ideas and execution behind this site.
This story, "A New Model for Newsprint " was originally published by BrandPost.