Lunch & Learn: All the News That Fits: Newspaper Resources at Princeton with Bobray Bordelon and Elizabeth Bennett

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At the February 21, 2007 Lunch ‘n Learn, Bobray Bordelon and Elizabeth Bennett gave a presentation about newspaper resources at Princeton. The electronic holdings at the library make it relatively easy to locate primary source material. Not surprisingly, such sources have become very popular for faculty and undergraduate research.
To find the newspapers that are contained in the University’s collections search the Main Catalog. There, you can easily gain access to information on the years of coverage for each newspaper. You may find that the library has microfilm for the newspaper, or it may provide a link to the newspaper online.


Or you can search current and historic newspaper collections. You can get there easily by clicking from the Main Library Homepage on è “Articles and Databases” and then è “see all subjects” and then è Newspapers.
As you see, the library has separated US Newspapers from international newspapers.
For a few select major newspapers, the most popular ones, the library has created dedicated newspaper pages that will help you to locate a complete run. It is rare that a single source will have all issues, but the libraries organization provides a useful path to the issues you need.
Although the focus in the talk was electronic papers, many small newspapers simply do not exist in electronic formats. Many of those are available in microfilm or physical form and may be available at the library or via interlibrary loan.
The Newspaper web page focuses first and foremost on the big newspaper collections.
ProQuest Newspapers, which is very easy to use, provides full text access to the country’s biggest newspapers: the New York Times (1995+), the Wall Street Journal (1982+), the Los Angeles Times (1985+), and the Chicago Tribune (1985+). Proquest Historical Newspapers covers even older publications.
Lexis-Nexis Academic provides full-text of many 1000’s national and regional newspapers, including the full-text of the New York Times. Lexis tends to provide better coverage of big papers rather than small ones. Lexis organizes its contents by “library,” but that organization will change this summer.
Factiva provides full-text of 1000’s of major national and regional newspapers, including the full-text of the Wall Street Journal. The Library only cites Factiva within the Library catalog as the source for a newspaper when they have the only coverage for the paper.
As a general rule, Factiva and Newsbank (see below) tend to have better coverage of small areas. Lexis often focuses on the larger papers. Factiva has the best international coverage. Charts, graphs, and illustrations are typically excluded but may be summarized.
Ethnic NewsWatch (1960+) focuses upon interdisciplinary, bilingual (English and Spanish), full text database of the newspapers, magazines and journals of the ethnic, minority, and native press. It provides a great way for scholars to get a full range of perspectives on important events.
NewsBank provides full-text of many major national and regional newspapers. They offer a interesting geographic interface that makes it easy to find newspapers from a particular region. It provides a good way to see how events are reported throughout the world. For those looking for older references, Proquest Historical Newspapers includes holdings from 1622-1920.
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The Library also provides links for major newspapers that will provide the best results. The Library offers complete coverage for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the Chicago Tribune.
Other newspapers often have gaps in coverage, often owing to copyright restrictions and the fact that newspapers moved to electronic production only in the early 1980s. Issues between 1920 and 1980 may be hard to find, or fall under copyright protection. New issues are periodically added to the collections, and the procedures for finding those additions are unfortunately all over the board.
For quick access to many newspapers, Google provides the best results. To examine the Denver Post, for example, simply search for it on Google. There’s no charge for current news… but there is a $3 charge for full text of items in their archive.
The New York Times and Wall Street Journal do not permit institutional access to their papers. You can still get to that information within Factiva under their News Pages section.
For international newspapers, we offer the equivalent of Lexis-Nexis for many collections. For example, the Library offers the Universal Database of Russian Newspapers which provides access to journal articles, news articles, government reports, and other material from the post-Soviet period (1980 on).
Little exists between 1925 and 1980 electronically largely due to copyright. There are some major historical collections such as America’s Historical Newspapers (1690-1922) and Proquest which has digitized major papers including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post that are useful for historians. Most are based on film collections and searching is often not 100% due to quirks in the original materials.
For help please use the Ask a Librarian options from the Main Library homepage. A podcast of the talk is available.

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