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JOUR 4040/COMM 6040: Media History (Carrie Whitney, Fall 2023): Searching for Primary News Sources

Microfilm -- Still Relevant!

(Photo credit: Jill Anderson)

Using WorldCat to Find Newspapers

Search for an item in libraries near you: >>

WorldCat is a database that searches libraries worldwide, including books, audiovisual materials, periodicals (magazines and newspapers), and archival materials. You can request many of the items in WorldCat using Interlibrary Loan.

Use Advanced Search to limit searches by author, title, and/or format.

WorldCat will also indicate if a digital version of the newspaper is available. More often than not, it will be available behind a paywall (and the GSU Library may or may not provide access) and/or only be limited to recent issues. But WorldCat may also link to a freely available version, so it's worth clicking to see whether the digital version is free or not. 

If you are looking for periodicals, look for records including the word "microform" or "microfilm." Most libraries will not lend out bound copies of periodicals, but many will lend microfilm versions.

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Requesting Microfilm via Interlibrary Loan

When requesting microform copies through Interlibrary Loan, use the "Book" request option and include periodical title, dates needed, and note that you are requesting microfilm.

Underground Press Collection

The University of Georgia Library has the Underground Press Collection available on microfilm.

For a list of the titles included in this collection, click here and then click on "1963-1985." You will be asked to sign in, first by selecting "Georgia State University" and then signing in with your Campus ID and password.

You can request reels of this collection via Interlibrary Loan. Request using the "Book" request option. Include:

  • the name of the newspaper
  • dates needed
  • that you are requesting microform (this is important!)

Note: GSU's Digital Collections includes a searchable, digitizezd version of The Great Speckled Bird, a local alternative paper published from 1968-1976.

Historical Magazine Databases at GSU

These are stand-alone databases that contain the full archives of each of these magazines up through the most current issue available.

These databases include historical periodicals (some with current periodicals as well):

Looking for Periodicals on Gender and Sexuality?

GSU's Special Collections and Archives has a significant collection of periodicals (that is, magazines and journals) focusing on gender and sexuality. These are print periodicals, so are well suiting for flipping through and browsing. Though some of these periodicals are available digitally in LGBTQ+ Source, the digital versions can be challenging to search in. 

We don't have full runs (i.e. all issues) of all of these magazines, but you may still be able to find useful material in these periodicals.

Additionally, some topics may be better addressed through advertisements in these periodicals (advertisements are primary sources!), which are easier found by browsing in the periodicals themselves than by searching online. 

This link will take you to a finding aid which will include a full listing of the gender/sexuality periodicals available in Special Collections. To get to the full list, click on the link and then on the small box that says "Open Finding Aid" (upper left corner). 

Titles include (but are not limited to):

  • The Advocate (1975-2017)
  • Manpower! (1972); restricted**)

Most of these may fall outside of the time period for this particular course, but for future reference, you might find this collection useful. 

If you would like to visit Special Collections to browse through any of these titles, please contact Morna Gerrard, Women and Gender Collections Archivist, at to make an appointment. Or just come to Special Collections' Reading Room during its working hours and ask at the reference desk!

**Note that some of these periodicals are identified as "Restricted." You will need a letter from your professor to be allowed access to these materials. You will also need to contact Morna Gerrard directly to find out more about access options for periodicals identified as "Restricted." 

Selected Historical Newspaper Databases at GSU

See the Newspapers tab above for the full Newspapers research guide.

African American Newspapers

James P. Danky, ed., African-American Newspapers and Periodicals: A National Bibliography (1998) is a good starting point for identifying titles of historical African-American periodicals.

  • Baltimore Afro-American (1893-1988)
  • Cleveland Call and Post (1934-1991)
  • Los Angeles Sentinel (1934-2005)
  • New York Amsterdam News (1922-1993)
  • Norfolk Journal and Guide (1921-2003)
  • Philadelphia Tribune (1912-2001)
  • Pittsburgh Courier (1911-2002)