Good sources for finding newspaper articles include ...
- Publication Web Sites
- Commercial Databases
- Document Delivery Services
- Historical Resources
A. Publication Web Sites: If you needed an article from a particular newspaper or magazine, your first stop would probably be the publication's web site. You can find newspaper and magazine web sites by:
- Searching News Trawler, Google or another search engine (very popular);
- Searching in Full-Text Sources Online (a personal favorite);
- Linking through U.S. News Archives on the Web and/or US Newspaper List, which also tell you the depth of the online archive, or the international Kidon;
- Following the links in the News and Media section of Yahoo!
B. Commercial Databases: Lexis, Westlaw, Ingenta, Dialog and Factiva all offer excellent search capabilities for locating articles from a wide array of newspapers and magazines. Databases can even be relatively inexpensive if you're just pulling an article or if your firm/company/schools/etc. has a special fee arrangement with the database company.
Some news databases are available through the web sites of public libraries (such as the Cleveland Public Library), private law libraries (such as the Jenkins Law Library), colleges and universities. Leading institutional database vendors include Proquest and Newsbank. These are powerful databases, generally provided for free, so be sure to take advantage of whatever you have available.
Each vendor has an online database directory, such as the Lexis Directory of Online Sources and the Dialog Bluesheets. You could also call the vendor's customer service line.
If you subscribe, Full-Text Sources Online will tell you which databases have which publications, with links to free web sites and information about the depth of each resource.
Negative News: Lexis Directory of Online Sources has a series of "Negative News" databases that are particularly useful when you are digging for dirt: All Negative News (NEWS;ALLNEG); Negative News from the past two years (NEWS;CURNEG); negative news from the past 90 days (NEWS;90NEG) and Negative News Today (NEWS;TDYNEG).
International Newspapers: The World News Connection on Dialog (File 985) is an excellent source for news from a wide range of countries. Lexis Directory of Online Sources has particularly strong international content grouped into a variety of useful databases, such as Major Non-U.S. Publications (NEWS;MJNUSP) and World News from the past two years (WORLD;CURNWS). If you have a subscription, BBC Monitoring Online provides news from otherwise less-covered countries. World Press Review is a good, free aggregator for international news.
College Newspapers: The U-Wire database has articles from hundreds of college newspapers. U-Wire is available on
Lexis (NEWS;UWIRE) and Westlaw (U-WIRE).
C. Document Delivery Services: Document delivery services will send you copies of newspaper and magazine articles for a fee. They generally work out of a large library, such as NYPL Premium Services (212-592-7200). For more names, links and numbers see the entry for "Document Delivery Services."
D. Libraries: Libraries are the place to go for copies of news articles if you need (a) publications not available from an electronic sources or (b) photocopies or microform printouts that let you see the page layout, the advertisements, the pictures, etc.
To find which libraries get a particular newspaper or magazine, I generally:
(1) Look in a local Union List, notably the Union lists published the local chapters of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) and the Special Libraries Association (SLA) or
(2) Search the online catalogs of likely libraries, especially libraries with good document delivery services (see "Document Delivery Services") or
(3) Search OCLC's WorldCat and/or
(4) On occasion, I've just called or dropped by a likely library to see for myself.
If you need to get a copy of a publication from a library that doesn't have a document delivery service, you can hire a document retrieval service (see "Document Retrieval Services").
E. Publishers: In many cases you can get a copy of an article by calling the newspaper or magazine itself. Sometimes they charge, sometimes they don't. Some publishers have good document delivery services, and some will ruin your day. Good luck and keep smiling.
F. Historical Resources: Good places to look when you are trying to find older news articles include:
- The Google News Archive, which searches a broad collection of news sources, some of which go back 200 years. You can limit your search results by years.
- The Library of Congress posts Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers, which lets you search and see images of selected newspapers from around 1980 through the 1930s.
- The Proquest Historical News database includes articles from top U.S. newspapers going back at least to the early 19th Century. Proquest Historical is available through many academic and public library Web sites. Although the database is not available directly from the vendor, Proquest posts information about the database.
- Libraries, discussed above, are your best bet for finding articles not readily available online.
- If all else fails, call the newspaper or magazine itself. Almost all papers have a collection of their own back issues.