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ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Document Types and Searchable Fields

A guide to all aspects of ProQuest Historical Newspapers including content, searching, and viewing results on the new ProQuest platform.

Database Construction

ProQuest Historical Newspapers reside on a single platform so you can cross-search titles with one another. This allows you to follow news not only across time, but also across geography, uncovering the multiple perspectives surrounding important issues and events.

Each newspaper page is zoned into article images and each newspaper image is supported with searchable ASCII text. Searchable text is generated by a two step process involving the optical character recognition (OCR) processing of all text, and the manual editing and correction of critical areas of text to improve search accuracy. Fields enhanced by the latter include:

  • Title
  • Subtitle
  • Author
  • Dateline
  • Abstract - In newspapers articles, the first paragraph is considered the abstract. Only substantial articles will have an abstract. Shorter articles consisting of only one or two paragraphs will not have an abstract.

ProQuest digitizes these newspapers from microfilm at a high resolution, which results in clean, easily readable images. In addition, some titles feature hit term highlighting, which helps the reader focus on the most relevant content within an article. Stories that originally spanned multiple pages are “threaded” together, appearing as one continuous image and further improving readability. You can confine searches to specific document types, dates, and newspaper titles to retrieve the most pertinent information. Combined, these features result in fast, effective searches.

Document Types

The Document type limiter available in the Advanced Search enables you to restrict your search to only search and retrieve records that are identified as certain document types in ProQuest Historical Newspapers.

Note: Not all Document types are applicable for all ProQuest Historical Newspapers.

Document Type

Limiter Explanation & Notes

Article

Search for your terms in any article.

Banner

Search for your terms in the banner.

The banner is the headline that typically displays in large type on the front page of a newspaper issue. This content is separate and not associated with a specific article. For example, a search on the famous headline news phrase "Men Walk on Moon" often retrieves no results when searched for as a front page article because it was a stand-alone proclamation in a banner.

Birth notice

Search for your terms in birth notices.

Classified ad

Search for your terms in classified advertisements.

Comic

Search for your terms in comics.

Not all titles of comics are searchable. Words within the image of the comic, such as words from thought or conversation bubbles, or the author or illustrator's name, may not be searchable. You may wish to limit to Comic, set the date range for the time period in which you are interested, and run the search without entering any additional search terms.

Display ad

Search for your terms in display advertisements.

Some but not all words are searchable within display ads.

Editorial

Search for your terms in editorial articles.

Editorial cartoon

Search for your terms in editorial cartoons.

If you want to locate editorial cartoons depicting, for example, a specific president or event, it’s important to know that many cartoons do not feature the specific name of a president or event.  Words within the image of the cartoon, including the artist’s signature, may not be searchable. You may wish to limit to Editorial cartoon, set the date range for the time period in which you are interested, and run the search without entering any additional search terms.

Fire loss

Search for your terms in fire loss notices.

In the past, losses resulting from fires were commonly reported in the news. Fire loss notices can provide insight into the history of buildings, homes and other locations.

Front page article

Search for your terms in articles on the front page.

Limiting your search to front page articles is an effective way to locate major news items and articles about key historical events.

Other

Search for your terms in content that has not been identified by one of the other document types.

Legal notice

Search for your terms in legal notices.

Letter to editor

Search for your terms in letters to the editor.

Lottery numbers

Search for lottery numbers.

The text of lottery numbers often cannot be searched. You may wish to limit to Lottery numbers, set the date range for the time period in which you are interested, and run the search without entering any additional search terms.

Marriage

Search for your terms in marriage notices.

Masthead

Search for your terms in the masthead.

Use this field to search for terms in the information a newspaper provides about its staff, operation, advertising and subscription rates, and circulation, or the title of the newspaper as it appears across the top of the front page.

Military war news

Search for your terms in military war news.

Obituary

Search for your terms in obituaries.

When searching for obituaries, keep in mind that a name on which you search may appear as a successor in another individual’s obituary, or as one who attended another’s funeral.  Also, obituaries for prominent figures may not be identified as obituaries because they are often reported in articles that appear on the front page or in different sections of the newspaper.

Photo standalone

Search for your terms related to a standalone photo.

Use this field to search the captions of photos not associated with articles.

Real estate transaction 

Search for your terms in real estate transactions.

Review

Search for your terms in reviews.

Use this field to search all types of reviews including film, theater, music, books, art and more.

Soldier list

Search for your terms in soldier lists.

Stock quote

Search for stock quotes.

Content identified as stock quotes includes many different types of financial data, not just stock quotes. The text of this content often cannot be searched. You may wish to limit to Stock quotes, set the date range for the time period in which you are interested, and run the search without entering any additional search terms. If you do search for a specific term like a ticker symbol, note that a newspaper may have used its own abbreviation, and some abbreviations have changed over time.

Table of contents

Search for your terms in tables of contents.

Use this field to search tables of contents that appear on the front page of some newspapers.

Weather

Search for weather.

Weather content often includes graphics and maps that cannot be searched. You may wish to limit to Weather, set the date range for the time period in which you are interested, and run the search without entering any additional search terms.

 

Searchable Fields

The following searchable fields are available for ProQuest Historical Newspapers.

Field Name

Label

Search Examples & Explanation

Abstract

AB

 

AB(presidential primary)

Search for your terms in the abstracts of documents. In ProQuest Historical Newspapers, the first paragraph of an article is considered the abstract. Only substantial articles will have an abstract.

All fields (no full text)

ALL

ALL(Treaty of Versailles)

Search for your terms in all fields, but not the full text.

Author

AU

 

AU(William Safire)

Search for documents written by a particular author. Try searching on both the full first name and initials in order to retrieve all articles by a specific author.

Dateline

DLN

DLN(Houston)

Search article datelines that often appear in newspaper articles just after the article title, and provide the date and place of the article origin.

Document text

FT

FT(race riot)

Search for your terms in the body of the document.

Document title

TI

 

TI(walk on the moon)

Search for your terms in the title of the document.

Publication title

PUB

PUB(Chicago Defender)

Search for a specific publication.

Page

PAGE

PAGE(A1)

Search for specific pages of a newspaper.

Section

SEC

SEC(sports)

Search for documents in a specific section of a newspaper.

Tag

TAG

TAG(World War I)

Search for Tags attached to articles. This field is user generated and only searches Tags that were made public by ProQuest users.