1. With historical newspapers and periodicals, be aware that spelling and word usage have changed over time.
2. Fuzzy is not just a bear with no hair: In some databases, fuzzy searches allow you to look for words that have different spellings. For example, fairy (faerie) and harbor (harbour) can be spelled a number of ways in older text. Always select “low”searches.
3. Periodicals can change names and editors. Publication information and history can be very valuable. When looking at publication information, look to see if your publication may have changed names so that you can look at its continuing issues. Often, these publications are linked in the databases. Look for the primary subject of the publication. Did that subject change over time? Who were the editors and/or the main contributors? This information can clue you into a large amout of social history of a periodical.
4. Stories are serialized. Sometimes, chapters or pieces of works appear in the same periodical over a period of time. Search the periodical to see if the rest of the story may be published in several issues.
Most of our archival databases can be found under the following database categories:
These databases provide not only large, urban newspapers, but they also include smaller, rural area newspapers, newsletters, major periodicals, and periodicals that societies, libraries, and religious dominations produced.
Databases for newspapers, newsletters, and periodicals concerned with certain subjects, social changes, or missionary work.
British Periodicals I through IV 1681 to 2005
Irish Newspaper Archives 1763 to current
Access Newspaper Archives 1759 to 2006
Times Digital Archives 1785 to 2006
Guardian and The Observer 1781-2003
Diaries and letters can serve as excellent primary sources, allowing researchers a personal glimpse into the lives of both well-know figures and common members in society. Among scholars studying women, diaries and letters can be a crucial resource in uncovering the interpersonal and public persona of women.