SCOM 1000: Human Communication

Alternative News Sources / Publications

Searching in Newspaper Databases (It's Different!)

When you are searching in a newspaper database, you are typically searching in the full text of the newspaper.

This means that your search terms may show up in the title, any subtitles, and in the full text of any article included in that database. This can be very helpful, but it can also mean that you'll need to pay careful attention to the titles of the articles that turn up in your results to make sure you're finding relevant results. (Example: if you're looking for articles about coronavirus/covid, many articles nowadays may include a throwaway line like "in this era of covid..." but be about something completely different.)

When searching in newspaper databases, you should think about what terms/words are most likely to have been used
at the time of the event/topic you are researching.

A newspaper database's Advanced Search option will have various ways to limit your search, including:

  • Date of publication: look for a dropdown next to "Publication date" for publication-date options; you can select a range of dates as needed.
  • Type of article: some newspaper databases will let you search by article type (editorial, front-page article, obituary, etc.). This can be helpful, but it can also be limiting, so be sure to also try your search without using these limiters, too, so you aren't missing other kinds of articles that might be useful
  • Subject/topic:
    • Current-news databases are more likely to also have an option to search by subject. This option is usually in the Advanced Search option, and will either be in a dropdown box next to the search boxes, or in the body of the Advanced Search page. 
    • Historical news databases are less likely to have a subject search option. If you are researching a historical topic in newspapers, be aware that you may encounter problematic/offensive language; these terms may be useful for searching, but should be understood as historical terms and not terms to be used casually. 

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You can also limit your search results in various ways once you've gotten to a list of results.
Look for a menu on the left-hand side of the page with various options for limiting your results.

Individual Newspaper Databases

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Links to specific newspapers (within broader news databases)

Newspaper/News Sources Databases

(See the Newspapers guide for fuller information about finding newspapers)