Search Tips for Chronicling America

Helpful Tips for Researching in Chronicling America

The Library of Congress recently launched a new Chronicling America home page, with several improvements and new features. With this great new site redesign, I thought it might be helpful to point out some features that will improve your searching experience in Chronicling America.

Searching Chronicling America

Did you know that you can now perform a simple search right from the homepage? You can still search by All States or one state only, choose the years you wish to search and enter your search terms in a simple search box. This facilitates quick and easy searching.

You can perform more Advanced Searching by clicking the Advanced Search tab on the homepage. Refine your search by specifying criteria such as State, Newspaper Title, Year or Date Range, and enter search terms in one of four different search boxes, to retrieve good results. The two search strategies in which I have found the most success are the With the Phrase…, and With Words…within (5 or 10 words) Proximity of One Another.

Search newspaper pages to retrieve article level information on:

  • particular people, proper names, family names, and businesses
  • particular cities, towns, and communities
  • specific historical events and general news of the time
  • illustrations, advertisements, cartoons, and photos
  • and a vast array of topics like social issues, war, crime, technology and progress, education, labor, fashion, material culture, community history, etc.

When selecting search terms remember to:

  • use historically used terms rather than the modern terms used today, such as the Great War instead of World War One as it is called today
  • try variations on spelling
  • enter words in order they are most likely to occur

For more help on Searching, visit General Searching in Chronicling America.

Viewing Search Results

When you perform a search, the search results page will open and display the newspaper images along with a link below the image which provides info about the newspaper. Your search terms will be high-lighted in pink as a guide to where you should look for your content on the page when you open it. You have the option to re-sort your results with the Sort By: Relevance, State, Title, and Date.

Click on either newspaper image, or its link below, in order to open and read that newspaper page. When viewing a newspaper page, there is a lot of information at your fingertips. The About link provides more information about that newspaper title. You can navigate forward and backward between PAGES and ISSUES with the blue arrows. You can zoom in and out of the page with the plus (+) and minus (-) signs located in the black viewing box left of the image.

My favorite new feature is the toggle full page button which increases the viewing space on your computer screen. This makes the newspaper image easier to read and is conducive to easier newspaper browsing. With the full screen option, you can use your mouse to left click and dial to zoom in and out of the page very easily. You can stay in toggle view to move back and forth between pages and issues.

The easiest way to download an image is to select the PDF link. Under File, select Save Page As, name file, and save as an Adobe Acrobat document. You may have to get the free download Adobe Reader to read these files on your computer, PDFs provide good quality copies, are easy to read, and are easy to zoom in and out for better viewing.

The Clip Image feature is also a useful tool. If you want to print or download part of a page, zoom in to that area of the page, and select Clip Image. You then have the option to Print or Download this image. If you don’t zoom in, the whole page will be printed or downloaded.

The Reset View icon allows you to reset the page view to its original setting, if you have been zooming in and out of a page and want to return to the way it originally appeared in the viewing box. It is located in the row of icons for Zoom In, Zoom Out, Reset View, and Toggle Full Page View, in the black area of the page viewer.

Using the Persistent Link, provided below every newspaper image, will always take you back to that page. Saving this link in a Word document is a very good idea if you wish to return to content you’ve found in Chronicling America. This link should be used if a citation is necessary.

You can now see the current number of newspaper pages available in Chronicling America with the Pages Available ticker in the upper left of the home page. As of today, there are 3,999,267 Pages Available. This number will continue to grow as more content is added to the site.


Exploring Newspapers in Chronicling America

The All Digitized Newspaper 1860-1922 tab links to lists of newspaper titles currently available by State in Chronicling America. You can also choose to Show All Digitized Papers 1860-1922 which will list content from all states participating in Chronicling America.

Choose the State in which you are interested. For example, select South Carolina from the drop down list of States, and a list will be displayed of historic South Carolina newspapers in Chronicling America. Keep in mind that this list will be continually updated, as Library of Congress adds more content to Chronicling America. This is a great place to begin browsing newspapers. You can view the Browse Issues calendar, look at the Earliest Issue to Latest Issues, and view a wealth of information about the newspaper title with the More Info link.

The centerpiece of the new home page, 100 Years Ago Today, displays century-old newspapers from across the U.S. Use the arrows on either side of the window to scroll back and forth and view issues. To read a newspaper, click on a newspaper image or its link below.

Historic Newspapers on Flickr shares 400 cool illustrations excerpted from the pages of Chronicling America newspapers, which is another fun way to browse Chronicling America content. Clicking on the image will open up the newspaper page in which it was found.

The Library of Congress staff continues to collect articles for your reading pleasure in Recommended Topics. There are now over 85 topics to browse which are a great way to delve into newspaper content and discover the amazing  history to be found in Chronicling America. Some fantastic new topics are the Ballet Russes (1910-1916), Bloomer Girls Women’s baseball (1897-1909), Chicago Black Sox Baseball Scandal (1919-1921) and Houdini (1906-1919).

As always, we are interested in hearing from you. Let us know what features you have found most useful when searching in Chronicling America! What interesting articles have you discovered? Have you found what you are looking for in Chronicling America? Have you had success or need a little help? Have any suggestions? Until next time, Happy Newspaper Searching.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s