Using Google News Archive to Search Local Papers

Google announced a couple years ago that it will no longer add to their News Archive. But the content that is still there may prove useful to doing local history research.

A couple of drawbacks of Google News Archive: currently they have disabled the ability to do an advanced search and limit to a specific publication and date range.  This problem is, hopefully, just a temporary one.  According to this:!category-topic/news/Gl23RwnTIlg they are working on updating the search functionality. Secondly, the archive is not complete.  The Pittsburgh Press has an impressive 28,963 issues.  But you will find that certain days are missing.

In my research example I was going to do a search for something about Andrew Carnegie, but decided that example is overused.  So instead, in anticipation of baseball season, I decided I wanted to find the Pittsburgh Press article from the day the Pirates won the World Series in 1925.  This example wouldn’t work if we were searching for the franchise’s first World Series victory because all of October 1909 is missing.

You can access the Pittsburgh Press at: or through the links on:


The browse mode (which is currently the only easy way to find things) give you easily scrollable thumbnails and date organization.  It starts out on the decade level and you can drill down from there into year, month, day.

If you only know the approximate day, the thumbnail view is high enough definition to allow you to read the headlines on the front page of every issue.  In this example, I just knew that the article would be sometime in October.  So I went to the October issues and browsed to find headlines about the Pirate and

the World Series.  Surprisingly, it was easy to find an article on the day before the game but not as easy to locate the article the day after they won.


On October 16th 1925 this was the headline on the front page of the Press.  They got bumped from the top spot on the page to a lower tier article!




Yinzers would be outraged if this happened in 2014.  Just compare the headline size to the one in the Trib from last fall.



Once I found the article I wanted it was easy to zoom into the text and move around the page to read the paper.  Once you find what you want Google allows you to create direct links to the articles.  The only difficult thing is exporting an image or article.  The easiest way I have found to do this is to use the “print screen” function and copy the image into Paint or Word.  From there you can crop to just the information you would like to save or print.

Hopefully the search functionality will be turned back on soon, this will allow users to easily search the OCR output of a specific publication in a defined date range.

Dustin Shilling, Sewickley Public Library

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