November 28, 2010

Wisconsin InfoLink: Century-old newspapers — online!

 

Ron Larson

Wisconsin InfoLink is an almanac of Wisconsin facts and resources compiled by Ron Larson. Each week on the WisconsinWatch blog, Larson introduces us to some of these gems.

When searching for current newspaper articles, Lexis-Nexis, NewsLibrary and BadgerLink are three alternatives that provide a wealth of sources. For older articles, NewspaperArchive (accessed through BadgerLink) is a fine starting place, especially now after a much-needed search page upgrade. Another source for older newspaper articles that provides another good search experience is the Wisconsin Historical Society’s collection of digital clippings from newspapers across the state. (Full disclosure – I am currently the Serials Resources Librarian at the Wisconsin Historical Society and work very closely with the collections mentioned in this post!)

Featured resource: Wisconsin InfoLink: Media > Wisconsin newspaper archives > Wisconsin Historical Society Local History and Biography Articles.

Both the basic and advanced search options are fairly straightforward. Keep in mind while searching that you are only searching for keywords that have been added by the library/archives staff, not in the full text. Despite that limitation, your search efforts are rewarded with interesting newspaper clippings that are rich in Wisconsin history. Most of the 16,000 articles in the collection were published between 1860 and 1940.

Besides the local history and biography collection of newspaper clippings, the Wisconsin Historical Society has one of the largest collections of North American newspapers, with more that 11,000 bound volumes and 100,000 reels of microfilm. The collection, housed at the Society’s headquarters at 816 State St. in Madison, includes Wisconsin newspapers, colonial and early American newspapers west of the Appalachians, the largest collection of labor and trade union newspapers in the nation and an extensive holdings of alternative, or “underground,” newspapers.

Besides daily and weekly Wisconsin newspapers, subject areas of current subscriptions received at the Wisconsin Historical Society include military, religious, labor and ethnic titles, especially Native American and African American newspapers. The Wisconsin Historical Society is definitely a treasure trove when you need newspapers as part of your research.

Ron Larson, a blogger for WisconsinWatch.org and staffer at the Wisconsin Historical Society, spent most of his professional life organizing information and helping reporters find facts and data as the library director at the Wisconsin State Journal and The Capital Times.