Example Questions That Can Be Answered Using This FAQ
- My grandmother was mentioned in the Chicago Tribune in 1906. Can I get a copy of that article using the Internet?
- I need an article that was published in the San Francisco Chronicle in the late 1970s.
Many IPL patrons are interested in getting newspaper articles via the Internet, and ask the IPL for help because the IPL maintains an extensive directory of online newspapers.
The Internet Public Library: Newspapers
However, only a small number of these newspapers provides access to any articles older than the late 1980s or early 1990s via the Internet, and many will charge for access to old articles.
A quick way to find out if the newspaper you are interested in has an online archive, how far back it goes, and whether they charge a fee for using it, is to check the U.S. News Archives on the Web site.
U.S. News Archives on the Web site
The Library of Congress and the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) have created a great website featuring a directory of newspapers published in the United States from 1690 until the present. The site also lets you search and view old newspaper pages from 1900 to 1910 from several states and Washington D.C.
Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers
Another site that our patrons might be interested in is NewsLibrary.
You can use this site to search the archives of many major U.S. and Canadian newspapers at the same time. The catch is that they will charge a fee if you want to actually read the full text of any articles, but browsing and searching is free.
Newspaper articles published prior to the late 1980s/early 1990s will probably not be put on the Internet for quite some time, if ever. One of the major blocks to such a project is that old newspaper articles were not CREATED in digital form. Newspapers today are put together using computers and digital information, making the cost of archives of recent information much less costly and cumbersome. But to create an archive of old information would require a massive, massive effort involving either re-typing in the articles or scanning with tremendous software problems (think of how hard it is to read microfilm sometimes; scanners can’t do it that much better).
It would be wonderful if someone were to undertake such a project, but the cost of preparing the archive would be so exorbitant that it is likely that access to the articles would be cut off except for those persons who could pay a great deal of money.
But most libraries have, at minimum, the back issues of the local newspaper, and some major libraries have much more than that.
Often, your best bet for finding old articles is to contact the local library in the city or town in which the newspaper is or was published, or to contact the newspaper you’re interested in directly.
A helpful website for finding your local library is LibWeb: