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.
* The following are examples of free digital newspaper collections:
- French-Canadian Newspapers: An Essential Historical Source (1808–1919);
- Peel’s Prairie Provinces (University of Alberta Libraries, A Division of Learning Services)[http://www.peel.library.ualberta.ca/newspapers/];
- Our Future, Our Past: The Alberta Heritage Digitization Project [http://www.ourfutureourpast.ca/newspapr/];
- Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec [http://www.banq.qc.ca/collections/collection_numerique/index.html?categorie=6]; and
- Manitobia: Digital Resources on Manitoba History [http://www.manitobia.ca/content/en/newspapers].
Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!