This month’s UniSkills Focus On… blog is looking at newspapers and the excellent newspaper collections you have free access to explore!
Why would you use newspapers in academic study?
Although newspapers aren’t considered to be an academic source, they do have their uses in academic study.
If you’re researching an event or topic from an historical perspective, a newspaper article from that time allows you to see how it was perceived while it was happening and can help you to position the event or topic within the society of the time.
And if you’re researching an area from the present-day newspaper articles will often be the most current source of information, as the event may be too recent for it to be written about in academic journals or textbooks.
Something to be aware of though is that newspapers are written for a general audience and not an academic one and newspapers can be subject to bias.
National daily newspapers, for example The Guardian or The Telegraph, have a particular readership and political standpoint. This can be useful to be aware of when evaluating your sources because as you read articles from different newspapers about the same event you will often read different perspectives.
You can also read international newspapers, which can help you see how the same event is viewed in different countries.
Which newspapers can you access?
Library and Learning Services provides you with access to the following newspaper collections:
- British Library Newspapers 1800-1900
This collection has 49 national and regional newspapers from the 19th century, which could be useful if you’re researching events from this century.
- Daily Mail Historical Archive 1896-2004
This collection can also be useful for historical research, with digitised versions of each issue of the Daily Mail between 1896 and 2004. This means that, as well as the text of each article, you will also see every photograph and advertisement published in the newspaper.
- Gale OneFile: News
This collection has over 2,300 newspapers from the UK and the world. It has major British newspapers, such as The Times and The Guardian, as well as many international titles, including the New York Times and The Australian.
This collection has over 650 UK national and regional newspapers, including titles such as Daily Telegraph, Daily Express, Liverpool Echo and Manchester Evening News. The coverage goes back to 1982 but varies from one newspaper to another. Also, this collection has just the text of each article, without any accompanying images or advertisements.
- Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Burney Newspapers Collection
This is a digitised collection of early English news media which formed the collection of the notable scholar Reverend Charles Burney (1757-1817). It includes over 1,000 pamphlets, proclamations, newsbooks and newspapers. It’s an important source of primary material for historical research focused on this period.
- The Times Digital Archive 1785-2019
This collection features full-text facsimile copies of The Times from the first issue in 1785. This means that you see each page of each issue exactly as it was published at the time, including the written article, images and advertisements. Because of its broad coverage it is useful for historical research, as well as for information about more recent events.
How do you access newspapers?
To access a particular newspaper, or to search for newspaper articles on a specific event or topic, you simply need to head to your Subject Resource page and click on the newspaper collection.
In the newspaper tab you will see links and information about each newspaper collection. Some of the historical newspaper collections are only accessible via the History Subject Resources page but they are available for all students to use.
Further Help and Support
If you need any further help or support finding, accessing or getting the most out of your resources head over the UniSkills web pages. From here you can access lots more information, toolkits and video tutorials, book on a UniSkills workshop and even book a 1-2-1 appointment.