Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Extra Extra! Read All About It!

screenshot of old newspaper
The New Dominion True Humorist: Bruno the Bloodhound
Do you miss the days of spreading black and white pages, feeling like an eagle of information  is taking flight in your hands? Of smudging ink on your fingers as you consume the latest news, perhaps literally hot off the press, the paper warming your hands? No?

Me neither, but whether we grew up with the crinkling sound of newspapers hovering over the breakfast table or not, "the paper" remains an iconic part of our culture. And sometimes, it contains critical content for our research. So where do we go when we need "the paper"?

That depends entirely on what paper you're looking to find! The research guides from Gallagher can help you stay current and keep up with Washington. There are a variety of sources for locating news, including your standbys Bloomberg, Lexis, West, and LexisNexis Academic. But I want to focus on one that offers something a little different, and it looks something like this:

screenshot of Google news archive
Google News Archive

The Google News Archive is a great resource for finding that weird publication no one else seems to have. Looking for "The Age Sentinel" or  "The Prince Albert Times"? How about "Le Shipshaw"? With extremely spotty coverage stretching back in time to at least 1736 and springing forward to 2009, the archive is a great last resort for hundreds of hard-to-get hotsheets.

Born in 2006, and officially launched in 2008, Google began the ambitious project of digitizing thousands of newspapers into a searchable format, with results that are almost as browsable as the traditional format. Though Google abandoned the project in 2011 (for reasons unknown), the site is still available for your perusal - at least for the moment.  So if you need  Fredericksburg's reaction on the day of the decision in Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967), or just want to explore how SCOTUS decisions affected vices back in the 1970's, the Google archive is a good place to go.

If you want to spend time admiring the archive, you'd be wise to spend it when you are A) looking for a particular title, or B) searching for something after 1970. The titles are easy to browse, as they are listed alphabetically. Searching is best done by following the directions provided by Google, and unfortunately, won't allow a custom date-range prior to 1970. Despite its drawbacks, this site is a great search tip to tuck away for the future.

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