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Using Sofia, the library catalogue

Newspapers Search Tips:

When you are searching for newspapers using the catalogue, please keep the following points in mind:

  • Newspapers may be listed under "Journal" or "eJournal", and occasionally a newspaper may have multiple records. For example, you may see two records for the same eNewspaper title, with each record showing different links.
  • Some newspapers have changed titles over time. For example, The Montreal Gazette was also know at various points in time as just The Gazette, as well as the Montreal Gazette and Commercial Advertiser. You may need to search for your newspaper using more than one name, depending on what time-frame you are researching. See the next section on How to Locate Newspaper Title Changes in Discovery.
  • eNewspapers are not hosted by McGill. We have access to them through external providers. This means that eNewspaper links lead to pages that are not part of the McGill library website.

If you cannot find the record are looking for and need assistance, please Ask a Librarian about it. We are more than happy to help!

Step 1: Enter Search Terms


Type in the name of the title you are look for in the WorldCat search box on the main library page, and press "Go".
On your search results page, you will see a section on the left side titled "Format", pointed out here with an arrow. This section allows you to choose which types of item formats will appear in your search results. Right now nothing is checked, so your search contains all possible results. You can see the whole list of formats by clicking on the "Show More" link.

Step 2 : Limit Your Search to Newspapers

Now, limit your search results by choosing the one of the options on the left side of the page under the "Format" section. There are several ways to do this:

  • You can choose "Newspaper", which automatically includes both print, digital newspapers and microform.
  • You can choose "eNewspaper", which includes only online newspapers.

By clicking in the box next to the word "Newspaper" or "eNewspaper", a small checkmark should appear. This means your selection was successful, and your search results will be updated automatically.


Step 3: Go to the Newspaper Document

Via the Search Results Page

  • Clicking on the "View online" (1) button shows you a list of external links which go directly to the newspaper content. There may be more than one link in the list. Each leads to the same newspaper title, but they do not all have the same content or the same available dates.
    • For example, newspaper articles at Factiva don't include the accompanying images, but a digital newspaper at ProQuest Historical will likely have more back issues, include the original accompanying images, as well as showing the original layout. This means you can try several links to see which kind of content works best for you.
  • Clicking on the "Other Editions and Formats at McGill University Library- View All" (2) link brings you to a list of the newspaper formats that the library owns. This allows you to see if we have microform copies.
  • Clicking on the title (3) brings you to the detailed catalogue record.
  • Clicking on the "Worldwide Editions and Formats" (4) link brings you to a list of available formats and languages. This is the same page as seen through the "View All Editions" link.


Via the Catalogue Record

Additionally, the detailed catalogue record also lists the links to the online newspaper editions. You may see dates written after each link. These are only approximations, but they'll give you an idea of what period of time that link covers.

  • If you are looking for a print copy of a newspaper, microform or other physical items like CD-ROMs, looking at the catalogue record under the section "Availability at McGill University Library" will show you where the item is located. There may be multiple items listed, such as numerous volumes of microfilm. This example shows the record for the New York Times.
  • This part of the record mentions that the microfilm is located in closed storage (1). This means that in order to use the microfilm, you have to make a request that it be retrieved, and then someone will bring it up from storage for you.
  • If you would like to have an item retrieved, you can click the 'Place hold or Request Article/Chapter Scan" button (2). This will prompt you to sign into your account in order to place a request.
  • This part of the record mentions that we have print copies of this newspaper, and notes where you can find them. In this case, you can find print copies of the New York Times on the main floor of the Humanities and Social Science Library.

Locating newspaper name changes in Sofia

When titles change

Newspapers are serial publications, and like their sister serial publications such as journals, magazines, annuals, and proceedings, their titles can change during the course of their history. Title changes usually take place when a publication merges with, or splits from, a second publication. It may also happen when there is an editorial change of direction or the newspaper is reborn after a period of abeyance.

Finding a title change in Discovery

The information and link to an earlier, later, merged or split title can be found in the "View Description" panel of a newspaper catalogue record.


Click on the link in "Preceding Entry" for an earlier title, and the link in "Succeeding Entry" for a later title. This link will then take you to the relevant title in Discovery where holdings can be seen. Sometimes this preceding/succeeding information will say "Continues in part" for a title that has split into one or more titles.

Using Factiva

Simple Search

This is the simple search bar on the home page. To start a search, type in the keyword or keywords you want to look for in the search bar, than press "Search". It works just like a web search engine.

If you press the "options" link on the right side of the bar, a menu will open up that allows you to limit your search in a few simple ways. You do not have to use these options, but they are there if you need them.

  • You can choose whether you want to search all news sources or certain types, like Dow Jones newswires, press releases, etc.
  • You can choose whether you want to limit your search results by date.
  • If you want to include blogs and boards in your results, you can do that by ticking the box labeled "Include additional Blogs and Boards".

Free Text Search:

Adding a date range

Running and modifying the search

Seeing all articles from a news source

The Factiva free text search, which is found under the "Search" option on the top menu, works a little like the simple search, except there are more search limits you can apply.

You enter the keywords in the search bar, like with the simple search. Here we are searching for "Prime Minister".

Adding search limits: how to search for keywords in a particular title or news source

You can limit your search to a specific title. For example, we can decide to only search for articles containing the word "Prime Minister" that have been published in the Montreal Gazette. To do this, first open the search limit menu for "Source" by clicking on the small arrow located next to it.

Now, you can choose your news source. You can select your source in several ways, such as by language, industry or region, if you click on the drop down menu next to "Select source category".

You can also start typing in a name in the small search bar and a list of matches will appear. Here we have typed in "Montr", and the Montreal Gazette has appeared in the list of choices.

In order to add the Montreal Gazette as a news source to your search, you need to click on it. If if has been successfully added you will see it now listed above the small search box in an orange rectangle. This means that your search will only show articles containing your keyword(s) from the Montreal Gazette.

Adding search limits: Looking at details about a news source

You'll notice that there are actually two Montreal Gazettes on the list. This is because one refers to the newspaper in print, and the other refers to the website for the Montreal Gazette. The icon listed in front of the same tells you the source's origin. (In this case, you can see a tiny newspaper page versus a world icon. The world icon represents a website.) You can also see details about the source by clicking on the "i" after the name.
Here are the news source details that appear for the Montreal Gazette:Newspaper when you click on the "i".

Here are the news source details that appear for the Montreal Gazette:Website when you click on the "i".


Adding search limits: Removing a search limit

If you would like to remove a news source that you have added, click anywhere on the orange rectangle that surrounds the news source's name and a submenu will pop up. You have the choice of adding "Not" to the news source, which means that the search will find everything except articles from the news source, or you can choose "Remove", to remove it.

Adding search limits: Additional limits

You can add a search limit for each of the categories in the same away as described for news source. For example, "Region" is set to North America, and "Language" is set to English.

Adding search limits: Adding a date range

You can also add a date range to your search. Underneath the search box is a option to limit the search to a specific time or time period. Clicking on the arrow to the right of the word "Date" opens up a dropdown, where you can select various options, including the option to enter your own specific date range (the last option).

Running and modifying the search

Now that the search is built, we can run it by pressing "Search".
These are the results of the search. If you need to change your search, you can click the "Modify Search" button on the top right, which will bring up the search box and search limit menu again.

Seeing all articles from a particular news source: searching without keywords

If you would like to see all articles published by a particular news source, you need to search in a specific way. First, you need to locate the name of the news source in the source limit section. You can do this the same way that is mentioned above, in Limiting keywords to a particular news source.
Now, instead of clicking directly on the news source name, click on the small arrow located after the name. This will add the news sources name to the search bar at the top of the page.
Now if you run the search by clicking the search button, your results will all the articles from the news source you selected.
You can also add a date range if you are looking for all articles from that news source for a specific time period.


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