Research Writing

What are periodicals Tips for finding How to find items Examples

Most periodicals digital news databases begin coverage in the 1990s. And while some begin in the late 1980s, they are often not a complete representation of the print medium. Therefore, the only way to get the complete publication is through a microfilm or digitized version (.pdf) of the complete newspaper. However, the Google News Archive has been searching some newspapers since the early 1900s. Use keywords to search for a specific newspaper or magazine. In these cases, it is recommended to use the advanced search.

Keep in mind that newspapers often publish different editions for different cities or regions of the country. Articles that appear in one regional edition do not appear in all. Some newspapers also publish separate geographic supplements with unique content. In addition, newspapers publish chronological editions; articles from earlier editions may not appear in later ones and vice versa. Usually only one edition is microfilmed.

Articles in some online news sources are updated in series, with previous updates disappearing. Similarly, articles in the online editions may have different headlines/titles and publication dates than the equivalent print version.

What are periodicals?

Periodicals are continuous publications such as newspapers, newspapers, or magazines.

They are published regularly (daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly).

What kind of periodicals are you looking for?

In this regard, it is necessary to consider exactly what type of publication we are looking for. They may be:

academic journals

Newspapers and substantive news sources

popular magazines

If you want an index of all three types of articles, you can use Academic Search Premier or ProQuest Research Library. To find older articles, try the Periodical Contents Index, which indexes periodicals from 1770 to 1993.

If you want to search multiple databases simultaneously, you can use Articles & Full Text, also linked from the Library home page.

What if we are not sure what type of publication it is?

If you’re not sure what type of serial you want, or you’re not sure which serial index to use, or if you want help searching, ask a local librarian.

Depending on the number of records your search retrieves, you will see either a list of entries or a single record for an individual serial title. If there is a list of titles, scroll through it and click on the line that lists the title of the journal you want to view for call number and location information or online link(s).

Tips for finding items

When beginning historical newspaper research for a research paper, thesis, or dissertation:

Identify the time period you plan to investigate.

Use digital databases that index the newspaper you are researching.

If your research is recent (1980s to present), use libraries’ digital news databases.

Use online databases to find articles in newspapers, newspapers and magazines. You can search for serial articles by article author, title, or keyword using the databases in your subject area.

Choose the database that best suits your theme.

Ask a Librarian to help you find out which databases are best for your topic.

If the full text of the article is not linked to the citation in the database you are using, search for the title of the journal in the Catalog. The catalog lists the print, microform, and electronic versions of the magazines and newspapers available at the library.

When you know the title of the magazine (Scientific American, The New York Times, Newsweek) search by the title of the magazine.

If you don’t have citations to newspaper articles in the specific publication, you’ll need to find an online version of the newspaper, use a newspaper index, or search for articles.

Click on the record and look at the dates in the “View It” section to see if the time period you need is available for search.

Click on the link for the correct time period.

Enter your search terms. The results should include only articles from the title of the newspaper you have chosen. If not, look for a post title limit or database selection option to choose the required title.

If you don’t see an online version in the library’s catalog or it’s from the wrong time period, try finding digitized versions available for free through Williams WorldCat.

How to find items when you don’t have an appointment

When you don’t have a citation for a specific article, but want to find articles on a topic, by a specific author(s), or with a known article title, you need to use one or more journal databases.

Available formats

Newspapers and news are currently available in seven formats online plain text, online HTML, online PDF, online direct, broadcast, streaming video/audio, microform, CD-ROM and paper. The News Formats web page lists some of the uses and limitations of each format.

How to distinguish scientific journals from other periodicals

Magazines, news publications, and magazines are important sources of up-to-date information on a wide variety of topics. With such a large and diverse collection, it is often difficult to distinguish between the various levels of scholarship found in the collection.

Academic journals are also called scientific journals, they are peer reviewed or refereed. Strictly speaking, peer-reviewed (also called peer-reviewed) journals refer only to those academic journals that submit articles for review and comment by other scholars, experts, or academics (peers) in the field. These reviewers must agree that the article represents well-conducted research or original writing before it can be published.

If you want articles from academic, research, peer-reviewed journals, you can ask a local librarian to recommend an index/database for your topic. Some databases exclusively index journals, such as America: History and Life, EconLit, Engineering Village, MLA Bibliography, PsycINFO, PubMed, and Web of Science. Google Scholar searches across all academic disciplines and subjects. You can also use the databases theme menu linked to the library’s home page to locate the databases that index scholarly journals.

If you want popular journals, use Academic Search Premier or ProQuest Research Library. There are also printed indexes, such as the Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature covering popular magazines from 1890 to 2011 found in the Olin Reference Collection.

What to look out for

Articles in academic journals usually have an abstract, a descriptive summary of the content of the article, before the main text of the article.

Scientific journals usually have a sober and serious aspect. They tend to contain lots of charts and diagrams, but few bright pages or exciting images.

Scientific journals always cite their sources in the form of footnotes or bibliographies. These bibliographies are often extensive and cite other scholarly writings.

The articles are written by an expert in the field or by someone who has done research on it. Author affiliations are usually listed at the bottom of the first page or at the end of the article: universities, research institutions, think tanks, and the like.

The language of academic journals is that of the discipline they deal with. It is assumed that the reader has some technical training.

The main purpose of a scientific journal is to report on original research or experiments in order to make that information available to the rest of the academic world.

Many, but not all, scientific journals are published by a specific professional organization.

Examples of scientific journals

American Economic Review

Applied Geography

Archives of Sexual Behavior

JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association

Journal of Marriage and the Family (published by the National Council on Family Relations)

Journal of Theoretical Biology

News of general interest

These periodicals can look quite attractive, although some are in newspaper format. Articles are often heavily illustrated, usually with photographs.

What to look out for

News and general interest periodicals sometimes cite sources, though more often than not they do not.

Articles can be written by a staff member, an academic, or a freelance writer.

The language of these publications is aimed at any educated public. No specialty is presupposed, only interest and a certain level of intelligence.

They are usually published by commercial companies or individuals, although some emanate from specific professional organizations.

The main objective of periodicals in this category is to provide information, in a general way, to a wide audience of interested citizens.

Examples of Substantive and General Interest News Periodicals

The Economist

National Geographic

New York Times

Scientific American

Vital speeches of the day

Popular Posts

Popular periodicals come in many formats, although they often have an attractive appearance with lots of color graphics (photographs, drawings, etc.).

These publications do not cite the sources in a bibliography. Information published in popular magazines is often second- or third-hand, and the original source is rarely mentioned.

Articles are usually very short and written in simple language.

The main purpose of popular periodicals is to entertain the reader, sell products (their own or their advertisers), or promote a point of view.

The Reader’s Guide Retrospective online index indexes popular magazines from 1890 to 1982 online. Periodical Contents Index covers some popular magazines for an even longer period of time: 1770 to 1993.

If the journal is available in electronic format, there will be one or more links in the “Availability” box of the catalog record. Click on this link. In most cases, this will take you to the magazine opening screen and you can choose the issue you want from there.

If the journal is available in print format, check the location information in the catalog record. Now you are ready to find it on the shelf. Check the local stack directory for the location of the signature in the various libraries.

Examples of Popular Periodicals

People Weekly

Reader’s Digest

Sports Illustrated


sensational or tabloid

Tabloid periodicals come in a wide variety of styles, but often use a newspaper format.

His language is elementary and sometimes incendiary. They assume a certain credulity in their audience.

The main purpose of tabloid magazines seems to be to arouse curiosity and satisfy popular superstitions. They often do so with eye-catching headlines designed to wow (eg, “Half man, half woman, she gets pregnant”).

Examples of tabloid periodicals


National Examiner


Weekly World News

Individual newspaper databases

Some newspapers are available as separate databases that allow you to search only the content of that newspaper. To find newspaper articles not on this list, especially current newspapers, search the library catalog for the newspaper title for links to databases containing the newspaper.

If an online searchable version of the newspaper is not available, an index may be available to help you identify articles on your topic. Some indexes are created by a public library for your local newspaper or by a company for larger regional/national newspapers. To find an index:

See the list of Newspaper Archives and Indexes for your country

Search Williams WorldCat for the [newspaper name] index (for example, the Boston Globe index)

Look for the newspaper/magazine or newspaper format. Be sure to look at what years the index was published. Most indexes are published annually, so you may need to search multiple volumes if your research topic spans multiple years.

If you find a printed index, you can try requesting the year(s) you need through interlibrary loan, but you may need to visit a library that has it or contact the librarians at that institution for help.

If there is no online version or indexing available, you will have to go through the newspaper (probably on microfilm) yourself to find articles of interest. This process is easier if you are looking for articles on a specific event, so you can limit your search to a few numbers before and/or after the date. If you are looking for a general topic (for example, women during the civil rights movement), this search will take a long time. In this case, take advantage of the research that has already been done on the topic. Search for academic articles or books and check their footnotes for citations.

If the library does not have the newspaper

Search the Center for Research Libraries (CRL) Newspaper Catalog or Williams WorldCat to determine if it is available on microfilm.

Request the months and years you need.

Some newspaper databases available

Atlanta Journal and Constitution (ProQuest Historical Newspapers). Publication dates: 1868-1945

Boston Globe (ProQuest Historical Newspapers). Publication dates: 1872-1988

Chicago Defender (ProQuest Historical Newspapers). Publication dates: 1909-1975

Chicago Tribune (ProQuest Historical Newspapers). Publication dates: 1849-1996

Christian Science Monitor (ProQuest Historical Newspapers). Publication dates: 1908-2006

Detroit Free Press (ProQuest Historical Newspapers). Publication dates: 1831-1999

Guardian and Observer (ProQuest Historical Newspapers). Publication dates: 1791-2003 (The Observer) and 1821-2003 (The Guardian)

Harper’s Weekly. Publication dates: 1857-1912

Hartford Courant (ProQuest Historical Newspapers). Publication dates: 1764-1993

Illustrated London News Historical. Publication dates: 1842-2003

Archive of the Japan Times. Publication dates: 1897-2017

Jerusalem Post. Publication dates: 1932-2008

Los Angeles Sentinel. Publication dates: 1934-2005

Los Angeles Times. Publication dates: 1881-2010

New York Amsterdam News. Publication dates: 1922-1993

New York Times. Publication Dates: 1980-Present

Pittsburgh Courier. Publication dates: 1911-2002

San Francisco Chronicle. Publication dates: 1865-1922

Sunday Times. Publication dates: 1822-2006

Times Digital Archive (London). Publication dates: 1785-2012

Times of India. Publication dates: 1838-2008

TLS (Times Literary Supplement). Publication dates: 1902-2019

Wall Street Journal. Publication dates: 1889-2002

Washington Post. Publication dates: 1877-2002

Beware of fake news

Fake news is not news you don’t agree with, but rather content generated by non-journalistic organizations to draw attention to advertisements (e.g. clickbait) or to spread false information (rumors, conspiracy theories, junk science). and propaganda, for example). Check the reliability of the news you receive on social networks.

Data loss

Some of the news archived digitally or on film is irretrievably lost due to data corruption, orphaned data files, or physical and environmental damage to the archived medium (eg, microfilm). Newsprint disintegrates. News content may become unavailable due to software or hardware obsolescence: the infrastructure to access the data may become unavailable.

Likewise, searching for news can be complex and confusing. There are a wide variety of sources, and you will use different sources depending on an event’s date and geographic location, desired perspective, content format and availability, and indexable or searchable format. Public indexing of many newspapers is a relatively recent phenomenon, although retrospective indexing of major newspapers is underway.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Back to top button