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Research Guides

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Newspapers are a primary source providing a first rough draft of events. Since most newspapers are local in scope, there is good coverage of local issues. Newspapers also provide a good feel for the time period.

Most older newspapers do not include indexing. Usually you will need to browse through issues of a newspaper to discover its content.  Newspapers on microfilm are kept in the Microforms & Newspaper Collections on the ground floor of Suzzallo.

Help: Analyzing Newspapers & Newspapers

Image: Seattle Times, 9 Apr. 1971

Strategies for Searching Fulltext Newspaper Databases

When searching any fulltext database such as the New York Times you may find the following strategies useful to narrow your search down to more relevant items.

  • When available use the Advanced Search option -- this gives you the flexibility of doing more complex searches
  • Some databases (such as the Seattle Times) allow you to add additional search boxes/field -- when searching the Seattle Times add a search field and change the box label to "standard title"; type in "seattle times" -- this will target your search just to the Seattle Times newspaper rather than to other newspapers included in the Early American Newspapers database.  See example.
  • Limit your search by publication year
  • If you get too many results see if there is a way to search just the headline of an article
  • Some databases allow you to search for words within close proximity to each other -- check the online help for the digitized newspaper to see if there are adjacency/proximity operators
  • If available limit your search by publication type such as articles, editorials, advertisements
  • Be aware of changes in language and spelling over time.  For example articles written in 1965 will use USSR or Soviet Union rather than Russia; Negro rather than African American; articles from 1800 might use Hayti rather than Haiti.

Seattle General Newspapers

This is a selection of Washington local newspapers. Most are available on microfilm and are housed in the Microform and Newspaper Collections (mcnews) on the ground floor of Suzzallo Library, others are in print and housed in Special Collections. Please check with mcnews for additional PNW newspapers.

For current newspaper coverage search Access World News and other databases listed on the E-Newspapers & News page.

Local Neighborhood & Ethnic Newspapers

National Newspapers & Magazines

For a broader perspective on Seattle you may want to take a look at national sources.  The following databases will help you identify  20th century magazine and newspaper articles.