We here in the library (this may not surprise you) are constantly learning new things. With 80+ databases and thousands upon thousands of available resources, it goes without saying that we regularly learn a new tip or trick. This morning, as I was trying and not so successfully assisting someone with a question, I learned something new about the LexisNexis database which I just have to pass along.
For those who don’t know, LexisNexis Academic is a wonderful database for anyone looking for news, legal, and business research resources. The downside? Searching ‘the news’ undoubtedly leads to an overwhelming number of results which can feel impossible to sort through.
What I already knew this morning was that you can search LexisNexis by official news source–they index the content of some 350 major news sources. What I learned? You can do a publication search to find additional freelance articles from news sources not officially included in the index. Let’s take a gander…
Searching by official source
Looking for a specific news outlet is quite easy in LexisNexis. Simply click on the arrow next to advanced options, then, in the search bar labeled ‘Source’ type in the name of the newspaper:
Once you select your news source and press ‘apply’, you are then searching only the content of that specific work. Of course, you can use additional advanced options to limit your search to a specific date range too.
Sources not ‘officially’ included
So what happens when you type in the name of a source which is not officially indexed in LexisNexis?
When this happens, not all hope is lost. There are ways to find some content from this source in LexisNexis, as well as other tools out on the web to help make up the difference.
If you’re interested in a source not officially indexed in LexisNexis, you can still do what’s known as a ‘publication’ search to find some of the source’s content. Important caveat: this would not be considered an exhaustive search of this source because not all of its content is available. However, this is a way to access freelance articles and those indexed from other sources.
How do you accomplish this? It looks a little strange. You will type the word ‘publication’ in all capital letters and follow this by the name of the news source in parentheses in the search bar: PUBLICATION(Columbia Daily Tribune). Then, you can use the word AND to add in whatever keywords you’re looking for within this publication. Here’s how it might look:
Now, let’s take a look at the results page so you can see what I mean about this not being an ‘official’ LexisNexis source:
First, hooray! We can see that the results in the list were published in the Columbia Daily Tribune. But…on the left side of the screen…why does it list the source as ‘McClatchy Tribune non-restricted’? Well, because that’s the official source. This seemingly strange ‘McClatchy Tribune’ is a larger news source which offers access to some freelance articles from several hundred North American newspapers. Some of those articles happen to appear in The Columbia Daily Tribune.
As you can see, I am still able to find some content from the news source I’m interested in, but it is by no means as exhaustive of a search as it could be were the full content of the newspaper indexed. So, what can we do to supplement these results?
Other Newspaper Options
One thing you can always do is go directly to the source; most newspapers have a link to a searchable archive of content. Some publishers allow free access to their electronic content while others require a subscription; but it never hurts to try! A newspaper’s searchable archive will typically allow you to input a date range and a number of keywords, similar to the capabilities in LexisNexis:
And, there is always Google’s searchable newspaper archive. The titles here are hit and miss, but the benefit is that much of the archived content is from extremely old publications (often back into the 1800s if not earlier). This is a great way to find primary sources from a number of newspapers and time periods. While the archive does not include copies of the Columbia Daily Tribune, check out this sample of titles and publication dates:
Feeling skeptical about the quality of these reproductions? The zoom in and out functionality on the older publications is surprisingly good, making it easier than you might expect to peruse the content. Click the image below to see it full-sized:
Hopefully these suggestions will get you off on the right foot when it comes to tracking down newspaper content. If you have questions about using LexisNexis, I would highly recommend taking a look at the LexisNexis Academic Wiki. The ‘How To’ pages offer simple instructions and screenshots on how to accomplish a number of tasks.
And, as always, you are welcome to contact the library for help!