Skip to Main Content


Using newspapers

Newspapers are primary sources of information about historical and current events. There are many different types of news sources available, and depending on your needs you might turn to print newspapers, online newspapers, digitized newspapers, aggregators, microform, or a combination of multiple formats, since many newspapers are available in more than one.  This is a introduction to the different kinds of newspaper formats you will find in the McGill Library collections and how to locate these sources.

Online editions of print newspapers

Many newspapers also publish an online edition. This edition may have the same content and layout as its print equivalent, but can also include additional content, such as articles available only online, as well as more up-to-date headlines and links to related news items. The online edition may have an archive of back issues, which may not be available elsewhere.


New York Times, Japan Times, titles available on PressReader.


Digitized newspapers

Digitized newspapers are an exact facsimile of their print equivalent: the articles, the layout, the advertisements and the photographs are preserved together. Sometimes their content is full-text searchable, or sometimes only an image of the original newspaper page is viewable. Digitized newspapers vary in viewing quality, and if the original text was damaged or degraded, they can be difficult to read.


Chronicling America, Historical Jewish Press, ProQuest Historical Newspapers, Revues et Journaux Québécois de BAnQ

Aggregators (news streams)

News databases and aggregators collect newspapers from many sources and make them available in one location, in a searchable format. They may include newswires, news journals, blogs, podcasts, transcripts from radio and tv, as well as websites. Most of the time you can directly access full-text articles, although some databases only contain links to articles, not the articles themselves. It is important to note that news articles from databases and aggregators may not include the photos or graphics which accompanied the originally published article.  Also, articles available through the aggregator may or may not change throughout the day, as some newspapers print later editions. Sometimes the article is updated online, and the earlier content disappears, or the article will not be updated by a later version.


Nexis Uni (formerly LexisNexis Academic), Factiva,, ProQuest International Newsstream

Newspaper indexes

Indexes are useful when you need to find information in a newspaper that has not been made full-text searchable, that has not been digitized at all, or is only available on microform. A newspaper index is an alphabetical list of news articles, sorted by subject, by name, or in other ways. Some newspaper indexes only list birth, marriage and death notices, and do not contain articles.  An index can feature information from only one newspaper, or from a certain category of newspaper, such as all the newspapers from a particular city. Newspaper indexes do not contain articles themselves.


Saskatchewan News Index, L'Évangeline Database

Microform (microfilm, microfiche, digital microfilm)

Microform formats provide a reproduction of the original in a reduced size. Microform formats like microfilm and microfiche are very useful for preserving newspapers, as they take up much less space and are much more stable over time than newsprint. Microform enables fragile or rare articles be consulted by researchers without exposing the original to handling. McGill Library has many newspapers in this format. The Library's  microform readers allow for easy reading and use and are located in the Humanities and Social Sciences Library in the Microfilm viewing room (M2-37F).  


New York Times digital microfilm, The Vancouver Sun microfilm reels

McGill LibraryQuestions? Ask us!
Privacy notice