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Historical Newspapers: Searching Newspapers

This guide provides information for accessing historical newspaper that may be in print, microform, or digitized. The date range for historical newspapers is loosely defined as five years ago or longer.

Searching Strategies

Successfully locating information in newspapers can be difficult. Most contemporary newspapers have a "paywall" that prevents access to full content without a subscription. Historical newspapers are challenging because the titles are scattered among a handful of publishers who are scanning / digitizing the content. Here are a few hints to help.

The easiest way to search for information from contemporary newspapers is to use an indexed database such as ProQuest U.S. Newsstream for United States news. ProQuest newspaper databases are categorized by geographical area, such as Asian Newsstream or European Newsstream. See the full listing of ProQuest newspaper databases at this link along with dozens of other databases: https://www.uwyo.edu/libraries/research/find/subject.cfm?subject=NEWS

Bibliographers categorize newspaper articles by keywords, subject, title, and so forth in a digital format. This digital information can then be searched easily using search engines. The limitations to this method is that not every newspaper is digitized. For Wyoming newspapers, only the Wyoming Tribune Eagle is indexed and digitized in U.S. Newsstream. This fact limits the amount of information that can be located by digital searches. Many other states have limited digitization. Still, ProQuest Newsstream is a fantastic source to locate recent and past articles. Other searchable databases of newspapers are available.

Most newspaper publishers limit the number of articles that can be accessed for "free" on their websites. However, one trick is to use the publisher's website to search for articles by keyword, title, or subject, and then go to a database like ProQuest Newsstream to see if that article is available. If it is, then the article may be downloaded or printed. If the article is not, there are other options such as searching retained copies of print newspapers, searching microforms, or submitting an interlibrary loan request.

As a general policy, UW Libraries keep paper copies of newspapers for six-months. The current month is available in the newspaper area on Level 1 of Coe. After one month's issues are accumulated, these are moved to a storage site within Coe Library where those issues can be retrieved if needed. After six months, issues are sent to be scanned into microform (i.e., microfilm or microfiche). Ask at the Coe Help Desk to have past issues brought out for browsing.

Microform newspapers are located on Level 1 of Coe Library. There is a microform reader located near the microform cabinets. This reader allows images to be captured as an image or PDF from the screen, then transferred to a storage device. Inquire at the Help Desk for assistance.

A final option is to use interlibrary loan (ILL) to request copies of newspaper articles. Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is a service for UW students, faculty, and staff. Submit one request per article title. Provide as much information as possible with the request. Unfortunately, ILL is not available for patrons of the UW Library who are not current students, faculty, or staff. Requests for materials at UW Libraries need to be submitted through a local public or academic library. Fees for the request are assessed by that library.

Wyoming Newspapers

Recent Articles:

The only currently-published Wyoming newspaper that is searchable through a library database is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle (Cheyenne). This paper is indexed in the ProQuest U.S. Newsstream database. Select "Publications" from the menu at the top of that page, then type "Wyoming" in the search box.

No other Wyoming newspapers are indexed within the ProQuest U.S. Newsstream database, which makes locating information difficult. Some Wyoming newspapers websites have search engines, but then limit the number of articles that may be viewed per month. However, the results of these website searches can be used to request articles through interlibrary loan (ILL), locating the article on microform, or print copies of the newspapers available in the library.

Historical Articles:

The Wyoming Newspaper Project is a digitization project of the University of Wyoming and the Wyoming State Library.  Newspapers published during the 19th and early 20th century in Wyoming communities are being scanned and converted to a text-searchable format. The UW Libraries are working from the earliest issues forward. Most scanned newspapers are from the 1800s and early 1900s. These documents are very useful for historical and genealogical research.

Any researcher can set up and account on the site. However, only UW students, faculty, and staff have full-text access and can download PDFs of articles and pages. Public patrons can only view the pages; no download of PDFs is possible. Pages can be requested using the interlibrary loan process with the patron's local library.

International Newspapers

Recent Articles:

The ProQuest Newsstream databases are the best source to use to locate articles from newspapers published in other countries. Locate the general geographic listing in the "News & Newspapers" database listing for research. Use the filters on the left-hand side of the webpage to select specific subjects or languages. Another option is to locate specific newspapers, select "Publications" from the topmost menu in the database. Search and/or browse to the desired title or location of publication.

Not every newspaper published in the world is indexed in this database. If the newspaper is not listed, other options to locate information include:

  • Locate the newspaper website and use the website search engine to locate articles.
  • Use the information from a search of the newspaper website to request the article using Request It (the library's interlibrary loan office). This service can also be used to request rolls of microfilm from other libraries.

Historical Articles:

Many of the databases listed on the "News & Newspapers" are digitized images of historical newspapers from the international locations during the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. These databases are searchable by keyword and subject.

Not all newspapers have been digitized. Some are available on microfilm or microfiche, and must be searched manually. Some newspapers are unavailable for loan, but specific articles may be requested using Request It. If a specific newspaper is not listed in the database listing, or is not listed in a database, the next step is to determine where microforms or bound copies may be held by a library. Use the WorldCat FirstSearch database to search.

United States Newspapers

Recent Articles:

ProQuest U.S. Newsstream is the best database to use to locate articles from major United States newspapers. The database indexes over 600 papers of "General Interest Publications." There are also specific political and science publications available that are published within the United States.

To locate specific newspapers, select "Publications" from the topmost menu in the database. Search and/or browse to the desired title or location of publication.

Not every newspaper published in the United States is indexed in this database. If the newspaper is not listed, other options to locate information include:

Locate the newspaper website and use the website search engine to locate articles.

Use the information from a search of the newspaper website to request the article using Request It (the library's interlibrary loan office). This service can also be used to request rolls of microfilm from other libraries.

Historical Articles:

Many of the databases listed on the "News & Newspapers" are digitized images of historical newspapers from the United States during the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. These databases are searchable by keyword and subject. Gale, ProQuest, and ReadEx are the primary publishers whose databases are available. Click the blue information "i" located next to each database title for more information.

Not all newspapers have been digitized. Some are available on microfilm or microfiche, and must be searched manually. Some newspapers are unavailable for loan, but specific articles may be requested using Interlibrary Loan. If a specific newspaper is not listed in the database listing, or is not listed in a database, the next step is to determine where microforms or bound copies may be held by a library. Use the WorldCat FirstSearch database to search, or ask a research librarian for assistance.

Special Interest Newspapers

Recent Articles:

ProQuest U.S. Newsstream is the best database to use to locate recent articles from special interest newspapers. The database indexes many special interest newspapers based on language and theme.

To locate special interest newspapers, select from the filters on the left-hand menu (e.g., select a specific language or publication subject). The publications that are displayed will be filtered and resorted. Search and/or browse to the desired title.

If a special interest newspaper is not listed in ProQuest Newsstand, determine if the publication has a website. Articles may be available from the website, or the information about specific articles may be obtained. Use the information from a search of the newspaper website to request the article using Request It (the library's interlibrary loan office). This service can also be used to request rolls of microfilm from other libraries.

Historical Articles:

Many of the databases listed on the "News & Newspapers" are digitized images of historical newspapers published at worldwide locations during the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Almost every database is searchable by keyword and subject.

Not all newspapers have been digitized. Some are available on microfilm or microfiche, and must be searched manually. Some newspapers are unavailable for loan, but specific articles may be requested using Request It. If a specific newspaper is not listed in the database listing, or is not listed in a database, the next step is to determine where microforms or bound copies may be held by a library. Use the WorldCat FirstSearch database to search.

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