University of Wisconsin–Madison

How to find those elusive newspaper articles

Newspapers....they are great resources, but they can be extremely difficult to find! Whether you are cite-checking, staying up-to-date, or writing your own paper, finding that elusive article from the '90s, '70s or even from 2013 can be very frustrating. The very nature of the newspapers means that the physical copies are rarely kept, and not all the papers have found their way online yet. What to do?

Fortunately, the Law Library has many potential answers for you, and as usual, it begins with the library catalog. If you search the catalog using the newspaper's name, you should be able to quickly determine what is available in print on campus and which databases have digitized the papers (except for Westlaw, Lexis and Bloomberg! More on them below). For example, a search for the Wisconsin State Journal will reveal that a number of libraries on campus have the paper in print (usually the past seven days), and a number of databases have it online as well.

If that doesn't work, your next best option is to check out one of the "Big Three" databases. Westlaw, Lexis and Bloomberg all have a number of full-text newspapers, usually going back to the early 1990s or even 1980s in some cases. Each database has a "News" section that can be further narrowed down to just newspapers. Here are their pages, though you can also do specific searching in each database's "GO" Bar. Each link below will require you to sign in to your respective account.

Lexis Advance's Newspaper Page

Westlaw's Newspaper Page

Bloomberg Law's News Page (a list of all Bloomberg's news sources can be found here)

Still not finding what you are looking for? Another possible resource is Badgerlink, which is a resource available to anybody in Wisconsin, and includes full-text PDFs of Wisconsin papers back to 2005. It also have a link to Newspaper Source Plus, which is one of the most comprehensive newspaper databases that UW-Madison subscribes to. Lexis-Nexis Academic, a campus-wide subscription, also has a bevy of full-text papers in HTML.

There are also a few databases that have older (much older!) newspapers. Check out Google Newspaper's collection of papers from the 1800s, or Proquest Historical Newspapers, which has many of the 'heavy hitters', such as the New York Times or Chicago Tribune.

Still stumped? The Library can help you continue your search! We may be able to get a copy of an article from another university, or track it down another way. Newspaper articles are among the most difficult items to locate, so please don't hesitate to ask! Happy reading!

Submitted by Kristopher Turner on February 27, 2017

This article appears in the categories: Law Library

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