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Historical Newspapers: Microform 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.

Microform Newspapers

Newspaper microfilms and microfiche are no longer available for interlibrary loan to non-UW patrons. However, requests for scans of newspaper articles may be placed through the requestor's local library. In addition, microforms may only be used within the library.

As part of a plan to ensure availability of these newspaper, the UW Libraries are digitizing the Wyoming newspapers that are on microfilm. There are dozens of Wyoming newspapers from the current and past century that contain a vast amount of historical information of value to researchers. Click this link to go to the tab of this guide with information about Wyoming Newspaper Project.

The digitization process will include OCR (optical character recognition) so that these newspapers may be searched by keyword. This project is expected to take a year or more. During that time some of the microfilm reels will not be available. The library will place a note in the catalog entry for these reels that have been temporarily removed for scanning. Researchers who need these particular reels can use interlibrary loan to request that item from other libraries in Wyoming.

Once the digitization project is complete, the microfilm will be moved to a storage facility to free up space for the UW Libraries' growing collection and student study space.

The most common method to preserve newspapers is on rolls of microfilm (or for USA Today, on sheets of microfiche).  Such materials are found in the Microform Collection on Coe level 1 east (in the southeast corner).  For historical research, you should know that the Libraries have many more newspaper titles than are listed under the Current Newspaper tab. Search the Libraries' Catalog to identify historic newspapers.

If you have difficulty locating microform content or using microform equipment, ask for assistance at the Help Desk located on Coe level 2 near the entrance.

Locating Microform Newspapers

The Libraries' microform and electronic versions of newspapers are included in the Libraries' Catalog. You may want to target your search by changing the "Search scope" to "Journals." When you select a particular title in the catalog, its Call No. for microform newspapers should be "Newspaper" and its Location listed as "Coe Library - Microfilm - Stacks Level 1"  (there is one title, USA Today that is in the microfiche collection). It is also useful to read the complete catalog record to see about current subscriptions and when microfilm title holdings start and end.

To find the microfilm reels, go to the Microform Collection on Coe Level 1 East ( in the southeast corner) to a large number of off-white microform file cabinets. Newspapers are the first group of microfilm materials you will find and these are subdivided into national and international, then Wyoming titles. Within each category, the titles are arranged alphabetically. There are signs on the tops of the cabinets to help locate prominent titles (e.g., the Wall Street Journal or the Casper Star-Tribune). Individual cabinet drawers are labeled with the newspaper titles and their holdings that they contain.

Library of Congress "Chronicling America" Project

The Library of Congress Digital Collections Branch has an ongoing project known as "Chronicling America: Historical American Newspapers."

Patrons may search the catalog to locate 17th, 18th, 19th,and 20th Century American newspapers in specific states, counties, and cities. Searches may be filtered by date.

Users may view digital images of select newspapers. Not all newspapers have been digitized, but more are added each week. Click on the "All Digitized Newspapers" tab to view available newspaper issues.

The LOC website also provides a comprehensive listing of American newspapers held by other libraries. Click on the lavender-colored button labeled "Historical Newspaper Directory, 1690 - Present" that is located under the masthead. Records will indicate where microform and physical copies of newspapers are held. Requests may then be made through interlibrary loan to borrow copies of available papers. Note that not all libraries lend their microfilm. Borrowing period is based on the circulation policies of the lending institution.

The following is a short tutorial on using the Chronicling America database.

Reading Microform and Making Copies

Microform Reader and Scanner

Located nearby the cabinets holding the microforms is a microform scanner that is used to read and reproduce images from the microform. The scanner is connected to a computer that displays the images from the microform. Images may be captured and saved as pdf documents. This computer is NOT connected to the Internet or WyoWeb accounts. Users must bring a USB flash drive to save the images. If the one machine is busy, there is another located in the Chisum Reading Room on Coe level 3 east (please notice their hours are shorter than the rest of Coe). If you need assistance, ask at the Help Desk on Level 2 of Coe Library.

Other Microform

In addition to newspapers, microfilm and microfiche have been used to make other types of documents available:  historic journal volumes, collections of older books, collections of research papers, and U.S. government documents.  Virtually all that are listed in the Libraries' Catalog are located in Coe 1 East or Special Collections (Coe Level 3 East).

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