These treasures can be found either via online searches or by browsing microfilm and/or newsprint at libraries and archives.
On this website, I have written profusely about researching old newspapers, and have also kept readers informed as to online links that can be accessed to find ancestor articles - mostly for the U.S. and Canada, but from time to time, links to collections from all over the world.
I don't pass judgment on the features and quality of these online collections, because I leave that up to the reader to decide.
But in the interest of informing readers about collections that I feel are noteworthy, I will be highlighting some of these collections in this series.
There are hundreds of online newspaper archives available throughout the world. Some are distinguished by their simplicity of use, others by their sheer number of pages available, some by their image quality, and a few by the range of features available in the underlying software.
This Illinois collection is distinguished by the latter - the software. Here is a list of all the features available in this wonderful site:
- You can browse by title or date for every newspaper issue in the collection
- There is a simple search and an advanced search feature
- You can save your searches for use at a later time - this is a very useful feature that enables you in sense to keep a search log and repeat searches at another time
- Exact phrases can be used by encasing your search words in quotes
- Boolean operations such as AND, OR, and NOT are available
- Search full text or article headlines
- Search by date range
- Search all or selected publications
- Display results as text or image
- Results can be sorted by title, date, category or best match
- After the results are displayed, you can refine the search without performing another search. Refine is by decade, publication, category or sub-collection. This is a nice feature that most online sites do not have
- If one registers on the site (free), you can actually correct inaccurate text that resulted from the OCR process, so that the text index becomes more accurate. This is helpful for you and other researchers who search in the future
This software is not perfect (I would like to see proximity searching for example), but it has more search features than 90% of the online sites out there, and the text correction capability is a magnificent way for we researchers to "Pay it Forward" for future researchers. For those seeking articles in historic Illinois newspapers, this site shouldn't be overlooked.
This is why I am choosing this collection as the "Online Historical Newspaper Collection of the Day".