Online Databases: Newspaper Articles

1) Magazine and Journal Articles
2) Newspaper Articles
3) Literature Resource Center
4) Subject Specific Databases

Newspapers provide first-hand accounts of current events in their news reports and, in editorials and opinion pieces, they present diverse points-of-view on controversial issues. First-hand accounts - descriptions of events by people with direct experience of those events - or any other information in its original form are considered primary sources. Aside from news reports, other examples of primary sources include diaries, letters, interviews, original artwork, statistical data that has not been analyzed and the first report of a research study in a scientific journal. Any information that is a retelling, interpretation, analysis of a primary source - that is, it's something new that is based on reading or hearing a primary source - is termed secondary material. In newspapers, articles that analyze current issues or trends or reviews of arts and entertainment are secondary material.

Current and recent newspapers are excellent sources for topics that deal with current issues and newspapers from previous time periods are excellent sources for historical topics.

Newspaper Indexes & Databases
To find newspaper articles on specific topics, we can use newspaper databases. Just like magazine and journal databases, newspaper databases index newspaper articles by subject and also provide keyword searching. Newspaper databases may include abstracts and full-text databases of single newspapers, or they can include abstracts and full-text articles for a selection of several, or even dozens of, different newspapers. Most major, regional and specialized newspapers have Web sites that include some form of full-text database. Newspapers' web sites commonly make at least some, if not all, of the articles in an issue available for free the same day they are published in print. These newspaper web sites do not, however, usually provide a complete database of all articles in back issues going back very far in time. In most cases, access is free, but the time availability - how far back in time issues are accessible - varies from just a few weeks to several years. Some newspapers on the Web (such as the San Jose Mercury News and the Los Angeles Times) are now charging for accessing the full-text of articles. A few, including the New York Times, do not charge for access, but require users to register in order to gather demographic and marketing information. A few of the major newspaper sites are:

San Francisco Chronicle
New York Times
Los Angeles Times
San Jose Mercury News
Washington Post

Many other newspapers that are available on the Web can be found listed on one of various Web directories of newspapers, including:

Internet Public Library Newspapers

"Premium" Newspaper Databases
To be able to do comprehensive searching of back issues of newspapers, you usually need to use "premium" (proprietary) databases that are commonly subscribed to by libraries and schools and are also available from commercial online services. Some of the same companies that produce premium magazine and journal databases also produce newspaper databases that often include complete full-text coverage of several major newspapers going back at least several years in time.

College of San Mateo Library subscribes to several newspaper databases such as InfoTrac Custom Newspapers. The InfoTrac Custom Newspapers contains full-text articles from over 160 local, regional, national, and international newspapers. Also includes Knight-Ridder Tribune News Service and Business News Wires.

What is InfoTrac Custom Newspapers?
Thomson Gale's InfoTrac Custom Newspapers is an extraordinary new Web-based collection of full-text newspapers from around the United States and the world.

What is indexed?
InfoTrac Custom Newspapers provides coverage of some of the most prolific newspapers in the U.S. and the rest of the world. The database is complete with full-text articles.

What dates are covered?
Most of the newspapers have coverage that date back to 1996.

Practice Using InfoTrac Custom Newspapers Step by Step

1. Click on the following link to connect to InfoTrac Custom Newspapers.

2. Do a search by typing the phrase "Genetic Engineering" in the text box. Next, click the "Search" button.

3. Scroll through the "Results List" page and choose a record. Click on the article title to view the entire article.

4. To print or email the checked records, click the "Print" or "Email" icon near the top of the screen

5. To go back to the "Search Results" page, click the "Results" link near the top of the screen.

Adapted from:
Canada College, LIBR 120: Information Competency
College of San Mateo, LIBR 105: Online Research Skills
Skyline College
, LSCI 100: Introduction to Information Resources

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