New York Times Releasing Open Source Document Viewer

by Ostatic Staff - Oct. 05, 2009

The New York Times has announced plans to release the next version of its Document Viewer under an open source license. The new viewer will be ready for launch in a few weeks and offers users interactive tools for annotating pages to share with others.

The Times has actively supported and participated in the open source community for years by releasing the code to various back-end tools and maintaining its own blog chronicling the activities of the development team. This is the first time, however, that it has released a customer-facing tool to share with other media outlets.

"[I]t's a tool. We're not giving away stories. We're not giving away tipsheets... If we can leverage the power of this growing community of developers and journalists who are becoming more technological to create something that will enhance journalism and transparency, then everyone benefits," Aron Pilhofer, the Times' editor for interactive newsroom technologies, told BayNewser.

Hopefully, the move is among the first of many by mainstream media outlets to harness the power of crowdsourcing. As the readership traditional media services like newspapers and magazines continues to decline, a willingness to work together and embrace rather than avoid the advantages of the Internet's impact on the industry may be the only way many outlets will continue to operate in the black.