Western History & Genealogy Blog

Newspapers Beyond Western History & Genealogy ...

Western History & Genealogy has an extensive collection of newspapers, both original and preserved on microfilm. And with the loan of many (but not all) of the Colorado Historical Society's newspapers on microfilm, your research opportunities have expanded even more.

But what about the titles that we don't have?

Newspapers can be a challenge. Even with today's extraordinary library catalogs, what a library holds of a given newspaper title can be difficult to determine. And many titles are not cataloged, leaving the researcher -- and the librarian, too! -- to turn to other resources in a quest for titles.

If you're interested in a specific newspaper, consult our reference librarians for its availability. They will likely turn to several tools to determine whether or not the newspaper is part of the Western History & Genealogy collection. Such tools include the Denver Public Library's online catalog, published guides to newspaper holdings in Colorado (such as Donald E. Oehlert's classic work, Guide to Colorado Newspapers: 1859-1963 [1964]), and title lists for our not-yet-cataloged publications.

Or try a new tool: the Library of Congress Chronicling America website, which offers access to digitized newspapers from a number of states (but not Colorado; turn to the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection for a select but growing number of the state's newspapers published before 1923), as well as a handy catalog of titles under 'Find.' A variety of possible searches are available, but the power of this database becomes apparent with a click of an innocuous little link -- 'Libraries that Have It' -- at the top of each title's page. Institutions with the title, and often a detailed list of holdings, appear!

Or perhaps you'd like to know if a newspaper was ever published? Or you'd like to know what newspapers were published in a given place during a given year? Invaluable resources for newspaper publication of the past are guides, such as N.W. Ayer & Son's American Newspaper Annual, that list newspapers published and provide other information of value to many researchers. The Library of Congress has digitized many of these guides, now conveniently arranged for the research on their Digital Reference Collection adjunct to their Newspaper and Periodical Reading Room website.

But did any issues of a title in question survive to be kept by a library or preserved on microfilm? Search library catalogs, Chronicling America, and our print guides.

Or just ask us!

Digitizing Old Newspapers

I find old newspapers very fascinating. Thanks for blogging about them.

If you have time, would you offer input to one or more of the following questions?

1. Is the digitization of old newspapers (putting the issues of old newspapers onto the computer, and making the old issues available to everyone) within the scope of our libraries today, or is it too expensive, too labor intensive.

2. Are there private companies or historical societies already digitizing the old newspapers? Are special concern groups (religious organizations, business companies, legal firms, genealogy clubs, etc.) already digitizing the newspapers that they are interested in?

3. What do you think the future holds for old newspapers and the computer? Do you see our old newspapers as worth going to the expense and trouble to try to save on the computer?

4. Do you see microfilming the old newspapers as ancient technology, to be replaced by digitizing the newspapers?

5. Is anyone saving the news today that is available every day on the Internet - or are we still depending on the printed newspaper to save historical record?

Maybe I'm asking too many questions. It's just that all of this is very interesting to me.

Thank you again for your blog.

Newspapers and Genealogy

Newspapers can provide a significant amount of genealogical information. You can find so much more than birth announcements, marriage announcements and obituaries. See what can be found in newspapers at Newspapers and Genealogy .

Regards, Jim