Short and Common Titles

Finding a newspaper or magazine in a library catalog can be unexpectedly difficult. Take the Times of London for example. Its official title is simply The Times, a name that it shares with many other newspapers. Unfortunately, library catalog records do not include cross references to popular titles such as Times of London or Time Magazine, but they do have other relevant publication information such as Library of Congress subjects which may list the country, state, or city in which a newspaper is distributed.

Selecting Journal Title from the Library’s search menu will minimize the number of matching results. Occasionally a closer look at individual records may be necessary to clear up any remaining confusion. The image below shows snippets of three matching records for journals with the title Times. Any remaining questions will be resolved by linking to the online archive with the help of find it or the Online version link in the record. Note, that the records at the left and in the middle are both records for the Times of London. However, the one in the middle is for a British newspaper archive that only covers 17th and 18th century content. Times issues published in the 19th century and later are not included. The record on the left links the reader to the complete archive of the Times.

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Name changes

Catalog records include previous and new titles if a newspaper or magazine changed its name. Cataloging rules require separate records to document each title change. For example, the Library’s catalog has multiple records for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Previous and new titles are listed in each record (see image below) to guide the reader to related records. The catalog record for the Philadelphia Inquirer Public Ledger, which was published under this title from 1934 to 1969 (see the modified masthead below) documents two previous titles and one new title. The Inquirer changed its name in 1934 after it absorbed the Public Ledger and went back to Philadelphia Inquirer in 1969.

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Luckily, in many cases the Library’s Full Text Finder brings together all online archives for a publication available to the Villanova community.

Determining Availability of Newspapers and Magazines Archives

Not all newspapers and magazines have a digital archive. Consult with a librarian about the availability of digital archives or use one of the websites listed below. Occasionally, online archives allow free search queries but block access to the full text of articles. Consider interlibrary loan requests for the discovered articles.  

The magazine Liberator published from 1918 to 1924 is a helpful case study on how to discover digital archives. Which Liberator? Falvey’s catalog has four records for serials with the title Liberator and that is just the beginning. Three records are for the widely known abolitionist weekly established in 1831 by William Lloyd Garrsion in which is available in three different digital archives. The third record is for an African American newspaper published in New York from 1929 to 1932. The US Newspaper Directory maintained by the Library of Congress lists a total of sixteen newspapers which use this name. However, the Directory does not include a listing for the magazine Liberator. Wikipedia, easy to find but alas less comprehensive, has entries for most newspapers and magazines. These entries typically cover a publication’s history including its impact, audience, and major controversies. They may also feature links to freely available digital archives. Disambiguation pages, such as the one for the Liberator, help to identify the correct article for the Liberator magazine. Wikipedia’s Liberator entry lists two freely available digital archives for the Liberator: one maintained at New York University Libraries and one published by the Marxist Internet Archive.

Last but not least, there is also the possibility to request limited access to microfilmed copies of a newspaper or magazine. Consult WorldCat (see link below) to determine whether a publication has been microfilmed and then fill out an interlibrary loan request. Most libraries will lend a limited number of microfilm reels at a time. The microfilm can be consulted with the Library’s state-of-the-art microfilm reader which has email and download functionality.

Locating Newspaper and Magazine Archives

Advanced Search (Books & Media)
Select Journal Title and enter the title of a newspaper or magazine.

Journal Finder
Locate newspapers and magazines that are available in digital format.

Consult Wikipedia articles on specific newspapers and magazines to discover freely available archives and to learn more about the agenda and audience of a publication.

WorldCat (FirstSearch)
Select Title in the search menu and limit search results to Serial Publications. Take advantage of other search limits such as Microform format and Internet Resources.

US Newspaper Directory, 1690-Present (Library of Congress)
Features a database of U.S. newspapers with descriptive information and selected digital access. Produced by the National Digital Newspaper Program, a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress.