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How to get hold of old newspaper articles

Old newspaper articles are available from many sources. You can try your local library, the newspaper that interests you, or specialised archives. This article will discuss several ways to get hold of old newspaper articles, including on the Internet.

Free local newspaper archives

Free newspaper archives may be available, through your local library online, if you are a registered member of the library, and have a user ID. This means that you can access the archive online from home, or from within the library building, to view old newspaper articles. Current online archives, available this way, often do not reach further back than the 1980s, when newspapers began to supply content on CD-ROM.
Local archives in scrapbooks Local news articles have probably been saved in scrapbooks, by your local history librarian. They can be accessed through the Reference desk. This is a good method to gain hands-on contact with really old newspapers, and their yellowed pages, and quaint art styles However, methods of curation do vary. Sometimes, the themes make them difficult to track down the information you want.

Old newspaper archives

Local and regional newspapers have their own archives.They provide copies on microfiche for you to access through the specialist viewer, either at your local library, or at the newspaper's own offices. This way, you get virtual views of old newspapers, and individual articles, but they are often indexed only by date, which can be tedious.
Old periodicals online You can access old periodicals online through Project Gutenberg. It has an extensive archive of the nineteenth century satirical Punch magazines, for instance, at Gutenberg.org. There are now many free libraries online, that offer access to specialist journals and magazines, such as Thefreelibrary.com.

Newspapers in museums

The National Archive can be a good resource for old magazine articles, and historical newspapers, but most often refers enquiries to the British Library. For many magazine articles, for instance from 1940s and 1950s women's magazines, there are collections, that have been bequeathed to the archive or await full curation and cataloguing. You can start at Nationalarchives.gov.uk page on Newspapers and the Press to locate these.
British Museum Newspaper Repository The British Library has 920,000 journal, and newspaper titles archived, including the British Museum periodical archive in the British Museum Newspaper Repository facility. All visits to British Library facilities require certain membership sign-ups. A prior request system is also in operation, so that the particular items required can be fetched from their storage location. You can browse their catalogue at Bl.uk, or visit their Newspaper Reading Room at Colindale, near Edgware, London.

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