SI wrote:THE NEW SI VAULT.
SI VAULT is located on the home page of SI.COM
Sports Illustrated on March 20 plans to unveil SI Vault, a new section within SI.com that will feature digitized archives of the magazine’s complete collection of content throughout its 54-year history. At launch, the online archive will feature 150,000 articles, 500,000 images and 2,800 covers--creating a site that is three times as large as SI.com, said officials. In addition, users will be able to “flip” through back issues of the magazine from 1954 - 1995 in their entirety, including all articles and ads as they originally appeared--using their mouse.
And while SI.com has a limited amount of video of its own, the new Vault section will also direct users to all sorts of sports video fare via the AOL-owned search engine Truveo, which will receive prominent placement in the Vault.
SI.com executives said rather than serving as just an encyclopedia of Sports Illustrated's past, they plan to use SI Vault as a programming tool, weaving archival content throughout the site on a continuous basis, including highlighting specific articles and photos from the past during key sporting events. That strategy will start with this Thursday’s tip-off of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship tournament, where fans will be able to read up on basketball greats like Michael Jordan’s and Magic Johnson’s performances in college as they turn to SI.com for updates on this year’s contests.
“We could have just done a basic digitization of our archives but that would be dull and boring,” explained SI.com managing editor Paul Fichtenbaum. Instead, the plan is to bring old content to life through the context of current sports news.
Fichtenbaum believes SI Vault should prove highly sticky for users – a recent package of archived articles on Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre that SI.com posted upon his retirement drove significant traffic. “People should get lost in this stuff,” he said. “When we tell people about its and its possibilities, they get really juiced.”
At launch, DirecTV has signed on as the official sponsor of SI Vault, and SI.com has also partnered with eBay to feature relevant sports memorabilia for sale alongside archival articles.
SI Digital president Jeff Price said that Sports Illustrated officials considered launching an online archive about three years, but costs and technology limitations were a deterrent. “If we launched it then, it would have been extremely expensive, and it would have been static,” he said.
Launching now, SI Vault can be more of a dynamic, evolving thing, said Price. An example of
that is a companion Wikipedia-like section within the Vault that users will be able to contribute to.
The totality of all this information should help SI Vault become a major resource for sports fans Googling their favorite athletes and perhaps hoping to settle arguments. “We think this is a huge opportunity for search engine optimization,” Price added.