Finding newspapers

There are over 3000 different newspapers in the State Library of Victoria's newspaper collection. Here are some tips to finding newspapers in the catalogue.

Find by title

If you know the title of a newspaper, type it into the search box. If it is a common title, like The Herald or The Times, try adding the city or place of publication after the title; for example, bulletin sydney. This will help reduce the number of search results to a more manageable number.

Find by 'Place newspaper published'

Go to the Advanced search. Choose 'Place newspaper published' from the first drop-down box. Type a place name into the corresponding text box – this can be a town, city, region, state or country.

User tags and keyword searching

Some special interest newspapers have been tagged by registered users of the State Library of Victoria. To search tags, click on the red Tags link under the search box in the catalogue. You can see columns for recently added and popular tags, and also a box to search tags. Type in 'newspapers' here and you'll see all the tags that have been assigned to newspapers.

Many newspapers also have subject descriptions, which you can use in a normal keyword search. For example, to receive search results for newspapers about the subject of agriculture, search for 'agriculture' and then refine your search to newspapers by selecting the appropriate 'Resource type' category.

Sorting search results

At the top of your search results, there is a drop-down that allows you to change how your results are sorted. The default is relevance, but the options for title, newest date or oldest date are especially useful for newspapers.

Title changes

Newspapers often change their name over time. If a newspaper changes its name it will have a separate catalogue record for each new title. Some newspapers have changed their titles many times, sometimes reverting to their original names and then changing yet again; for example, the Ringwood Croydon mail. The 'Details' tab will note related works, and may also have a link saying 'View family tree for this title'. The family tree can help you navigate through all the title changes, and also links back to catalogue entries.

Publication dates vs holdings dates

Newspapers are continuing publications, sometimes called 'serials' or 'periodicals'. Some newspapers are very old and the Library may not hold all issues. The catalogue records will show the dates of publication as well as the 'holdings'; i.e. the actual issues the Library has in its collection. For example, the Cape Times was published between 1887 and 1913, but the Library only has issues from 1895 to 1913. To check the holdings, click on the 'Locations' tab.

More information and tips about researching in newspapers is available from our research guides.