Monday, February 21, 2011

Chronicling America - Using Digitized Historic Newspapers

Using the Chronicling America site has been great fun. I discovered that the Weather Service has already celebrated 150 years. I learned how maps were made in previous years. I also learned that in 1888 dogs had to be licensed in Miles City, MT, my hometown. While talking to a friend about this site I learned that she has an original copy of the Daily Yellowstone Journal that once belonged to her mother-in-law. I hope your research uncovers equally interesting finds.
You can read historic Montana newspapers by going to the Montana Memory Project and linking to the Chronicling America Project. The Chronicling America Newspaper Project is a joint partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress National Digital Newspaper Program. The Library of Congress site has digitized newspapers from every state.
One way to access Montana newspapers is to go to the Montana Memory Project. Once there, scroll to the bottom of the page. You can then choose which papers and dates you want to search.
There is also a link to the Chronicling America site.
This is a great place to jump in and explore. If you are like me this is also where you will start to get very frustrated. I would enter a search term and up would pop a number of newspapers. That was good. When I finished looking at the first one I tried to find the other potential newspapers. I couldn’t just click on the next one. That was bad.
I requested help from Martha at the MT Historical Society. She told me to open two windows in my browser and work back and forth. Great advise! Shortly after that she forwarded an email from the Library of Congress - they had just put their beta version online. Much easier to work with!
You can get your search results either as newspaper thumbnails or in list format. I used the list format and printed out the list. It made it easier for me to take notes and make comments about the newspapers as I searched. It gave me a thorough record of my searches.

List format

Thumbnail format

I also played with the browsing tool. Click on the browsing button. It brings up a calendar and a way to look at specific newspapers by date. You can search by state or individual paper. Under the column – browse issues is a calendar icon. You can click on the icon to fine tune your search by individual copies.

I would be interested in all comments after you peruse this site. Please let me know about problems you encounter. I would also like ideas for making this tutorial more meaningful. I enjoy reading all comments.

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