Finding Old Newspaper Content
Newspapers have been around a long time, and have been a common component of American culture since the early eighteenth century. For many, many years newspapers have been the undeniable carrier of news and other forms of information. Today's newspapers carry on that tradition.
As newspapers have been such a rich source of recent and historical content for so long, its no surprise people want access to new and old newspapers alike. And with such technological innovations in this day and age (like the Internet), having those resources in an electronic form makes them highly convenient and accessible. Unfortunately, making older newspapers (pre-Internet era) available electronically is actually very difficult and time consuming.
Often (at least once a week it seems), I get inquiries about past issues of the paper. Most of the time, the individual is looking for something in particular that was published in the paper quite some time ago, like an obituary, a wedding or a community event that was covered by the paper.
Often, I get asked questions like, "I am looking for my grandfather's obituary, which was printed in the Sun Advocate sometime in 1974." Or, "I'm looking for a story that was published some time in the 1950's about [this] or [that]."
Most inquirers have already searched our online archives (found at www.sunad.com), and are a bit puzzled as to why old issues (prior to 2000) are not there. I try my best to explain that this archive contains only the online version (which does not include all the content in the printed version), and it does not cover publications that were produced before the website was available. Most newspapers don't have the resources or manpower to put all of their past issues online, and we are no exception.
As anyone might expect, we do archive the print edition of the paper. However, this archive is electronic in nature and only goes back 6 or 7 years, when we began using computers to produce the entire paper.
I refer most of these inquirers to the state colleges that have most of the state newspapers archived on microfilm. The College of Eastern Utah library has a microfilm library which contains many decades worth of newspapers, including the Sun Advocate and Emery County Progress. The University of Utah library has similar resources.
In addition to the microfilm archives, I often refer them to the Utah Digital Newspapers site as well. This ambitious project is maintained and hosted by the University of Utah, and contains a search-able, online archive of Utah newspapers in the early twentieth century and above. Rather than starting with today's papers and working backwards, they opted to begin with some of the earlier papers (circa 1900) and work forward towards the future.
The site address can be found at the bottom of www.sunad.com, or can be found at http://www.lib.utah.edu/digital/unews/.
Have comments about this article, or suggestions for an additional Tech Tips article? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.