Why Consult Newspapers on Microfilm?

We have already discussed how to find Canadian newspapers on microfilm; and you might have wondered why we have to turn to microfilm in the first place? Aren’t these newspapers available online?

The short answer is that only some of them are (*). Most newspaper editions available electronically for free are limited in their content, and the issues usually start only in the 1980s. If you are interested in full-page content and original layouts, or need to access older issues, some major dailies like the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star and the Winnipeg Free Press offer historical versions in PDF format for a fee. As well, your local library may subscribe to a particular daily, or you may also purchase access yourself.

Another option is to access Library and Archives Canada’s newspapers on microfilm, an extensive collection that:

  • includes major newspapers, as well as local, labour, ethnic and student papers;
  • allows you to research aspects of newspaper publishing, such as design, layout and advertising, not contained in the electronic versions; and
  • provides access to content excluded in the electronic versions, including photographs, classifieds and obituaries.

Come visit us in Ottawa to consult these newspapers on microfilm and discover our collection, or contact us for more information.

* The following are examples of free digital newspaper collections:

Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!

5 thoughts on “Why Consult Newspapers on Microfilm?

  1. After the cancellation of the interlibrary loan program, will there be any other ways to access LAC’s newspapers on microfilm, other than traveling to LAC?

    • Thank you for your question. The Library and Archives Canada (LAC) interlibrary loan (ILL) service will end on February 15, 2013 and further details about the dates for last loans, renewals and returns will be announced later this year.

      Canadian libraries will continue to have access to the ILL request form in AMICUS, the National Union Catalogue, managed by LAC, which facilitates interlibrary loans.

      Lending among institutions will continue and will be supported by AMICUS database, which is not affected by this decision and updates to this catalogue will continue.

      LAC will collaborate with other organizations to foster resource sharing across Canada and more details will be announced in the fall of 2012.

      • LAC has now announced that its ILL service will end in December rather than February as previously stated. There seems to be no explanation for the speeding up of the process. How will those who live outside the Ottawa area have access to LAC’s collectionof newspapers on microfilm or other resources which have been available through ILL?

      • Thank you for your comments. Please rest assured that LAC will continue to facilitate interlibrary loan activities among other institutions through the ILL form in AMICUS, and through ongoing administration of Canadian Library Symbols.

        Through our modernized service channels, LAC will emphasize increased digital access to high-demand content. LAC is working with Canada’s ILL user community in order to inform this approach to accessing the institution’s unique holdings.

  2. You have not really answered MMacDonald’s question. Once LAC ends its Inter Library Loan service it seems that the only way to use LAC microfilm, whether newspapers or other microfilm,will be to visit Ottawa and use these resources at 395 Wellington. For well over half a century ILL has enabled researchers across the country to use a wide variety of research material from our national archives and our national library in their own communities. The cancellation of this service is a loss to all of us.

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