Thursday, August 30, 2007 and WorldVitalRecords recently announced their partnership with - see the announcement here. NewspaperARCHIVE currently has 71 million pages from 724 cities with 2,759 titles. Apparently, WorldVitalRecords is adding them a few at a time (looking at their list of most recent additions here).

The list of newspapers currently in the WorldVitalRecords content can be seen at WVR has two major content providers, NewspaperARCHIVE and Small Town Newspapers. As of today, there are only 15 newspapers from NewspaperARCHIVE on the list.

WorldVitalRecords provides free access to each new database they add for ten days. In the case of the NewspaperARCHIVE database, the researcher will have to check the list of recently added content on a regular basis to determine if a newspaper of interest has been added to the list.

I checked several of the available newspapers to see how the viewer worked and to see if the search words are highlighted. You can input given name, last name, keywords, place and year in the search box. The search words were highlighted on the newspaper page, which is wonderful. The list of search matches provides the information about the newspaper (page, date, city, newspaper), a snippet containing one of the search terms, and a link for "More Details" that goes to an image of the newspaper page.

However, the two viewers are a problem. The Basic Viewer shows you part of the whole page, and you have to use the scroll bars on the right and bottom of the browser window to move around. Some of the images are very large - I viewed one over 5 mb that took quite a while to load, and seemed to take forever to scroll down and over on. There are no zoom features with the Basic viewer, and some of the pages have type so large that it is difficult to read.

The Enhanced Viewer uses a Java applet that provides a 15 to 20 line high snippet that contains one of the search terms, which is highlighted. I couldn't move up or down or sideways on the image. There are zoom controls, but they didn't work for me.

Since these databases are new to WorldVitalRecords, I hope that they will improve the viewer problems. I like the search box and the highlighting on the newspaper page image.

This NewspaperARCHIVE collection at WorldVitalRecords shows great promise, especially for those researchers who don't have an subscription (note - has the NewspaperARCHIVE collection behind their subscription wall). I also appreciate the 10 free days permitted by WVR to view new databases, I just need to remember to visit there once or twice a week!


Anonymous said...

It is possible to "drag" the Java window from side to side or up and down so that you can see more of the page. But I do hope the fix the viewers so they are more user-friendly.

Craig Manson said...

Viewer problems have been one of the things that have left me less than enthusiastic about newspaper collections on-line. But yesterday, I signed onto GenealogyBank's Historic Newspaper collection and was relatively pleased with their viewer. You can convert their images to PDF, in which case, any viewing issues go away.

Anonymous said...

You can also click on the Printer Friendly button in the Enhanced Viewer to see the full page (and to print).

David said...

Another great resource for historical newspaper archives is this site at XooxleAnswers:
Free Newspaper Archives

There are a ton of great links here, all of them to online newspaper and magazine archives that go back at least 50 years. Some of them go back to the 17th century!

Best of all, everything listed here is free. There is no charge to access any of the archives listed at this site.

Most of the material is from the US, and is in English, but there are also many international listings, and non-English listings (French, German, Polish, Hebrew, even Maori!), from both the US and elsewhere.

Definitely worth checking out!