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Newspapers, Broadcast News & Popular Magazines

Newspapers are a valuable type of material for research, and are used as both primary and secondary sources. The Brown University Library has numerous newspapers across a variety of time periods, from diverse perspectives, and in different formats.

New York Times and Wall Street Journal

Brown students, faculty, and staff are eligible for free academic passes to the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Activate your passes below:

Research using the news

To find newspapers by geographic location, go to BruKnow Advanced Search and do a subject search on: Newspapers and [City]. Limit to Library Catalog.

 

Text Box: BruKnow Advanced Search for Newspapers

 

Tips for Searching Newspapers

Carrying out searches in newspaper databases can be overwhelming. Here are some tips to help you find what you need more easily.

  • Use the Advanced Search option. This allows you to tailor your search to obtain more specific results. For instance, you can limit your search to a date range or to one specific newspaper, state, or country. You can also narrow down your results further by using the limiters that will appear on your results page.
     
  • Use Boolean operators: AND, OR, NOT.  Using "AND" between search terms will search for articles that contain all the words. Using "OR" will find articles that contain either search term but not necessarily both. Using "NOT" will eliminate terms from your search. For instance:
    • Lincoln AND Gettysburg will find articles (or possibly entire pages) that include both words, though they may not be related to each other.
    • Manasses OR "Bull Run" will find articles that mention either term.
    • Gettysburg NOT Battle will find articles that mention Gettysburg but do not include the word "battle."
       
  • To ensure that your search gives you results in which your terms are associated with each other, you can also use Proximity Operators. These vary by database. If you don't see your database included here, try looking at its Help section.
    • Proquest: NEAR/[number]. For example: Hollywood NEAR/2 Sign will give you results where the words Hollywood and Sign are found within 2 words of each other.
    • Readex: NEAR[number]: For example: "Chief Joseph" NEAR5 "Nez Percé" will find the terms within 5 words of each other.
    • Newsbank (Access World News): ADJ[number]. For example: Prohibition ADJ4 Depression will find the terms within 4 words of each other.
    • Gale: n[number]: For example: "Monty Python" n3 "Holy Grail" will find the terms within 3 words of each other, in any order.
    • Gale: w[number]: For example: William w2 Harrison will find the terms within 2 words of each other, in that order.
       
  • Use quotation marks to search phrases: "Underground railroad" will search the entire phrase together. If you don't use the quotation marks, you could get results that mention both words separately but have nothing to do with your search.
     
  • If using quotation marks on names, be careful to try alternatives as a person's name might vary in different articles -- perhaps including a middle initial sometimes or a nickname or even being misspelled.
     
  • Use Wildcards. In most (but not all) databases an asterisk at the end of a truncated word will get you different endings. For instance:
    • Doctor* will get you these results: Doctor, Doctors, Doctoral, Doctorate.
    • An asterisk or question mark inside of a word will get different spellings: Wom*n or Wom?n will find Women and Woman (wildcards will vary by database).
       
  • Nesting: You can create complex searches by putting some terms in parentheses. For instance:
    • (Forest OR Woods) AND Conservation will get results for the term Conservation combined with either Forest or Woods.
       
  • In general, keep alternative search terms in mind. Newspaper databases are not indexed by subject, so a different author might use different terms or a term may have changed over time and you need to search on all the alternatives in order to be sure you find everything. Be aware that terms we might consider offensive today may have been common in the past. When you read articles that you've found, note the words they use and go back and do more searches using those new words.