How to find items in newspapers

Finding newspaper articles, images and more using databases and indexes

Finding articles

Use the News articles search in catalogue to find results across millions of news articles from hundreds of newspapers. Text only, no pictures or ads.  To find articles in popular Australian newspapers, combine one or more of the ISSNs below with your search terms:

Newspaper ISSN
The Advertiser (Adelaide) (1996— ) 1039-4192
The Age (Melbourne) (1991— ) 0312-6307
The Australian Financial Review (2003— )      0404-2018
The Australian (1996— ) 1038-8761
The Courier Mail (Brisbane) (2001— ) 1322-5235
The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) (2001— ) 1836-0203
Herald Sun (Melbourne) (2001— ) 1038-3433
The Mercury (Hobart) (2001— ) 1039-9992
The Sydney Morning Herald (2001— ) 0312-6315


For example
To find: Type in:
articles about AFL in The Age  0312-6307 AFL
articles about AFL in two or more papers      (0312-6307 OR 1038-3433) AFL


The content is uploaded weekly so for the most recent articles on a topic, it's best to go to the individual database. For more search tips and information about using our catalogue, please visit the Using our catalogue help pages.

Find articles by topic

News articles or reports can be found by searchable online or digital news archives, often also called databases. These can be searched by keywords, author or title (i.e. headline). Searches can usually be limited to a specific date range, and to a particular newspaper, or group of newspapers. However not all newspapers are available in this format. See Databases explained for more information.

Newspapers in online formats often only contain the text of news articles, but not the original newspaper layout and pictorial content. The ProQuest Australia & New Zealand Newsstream is a good example. Alternatively, some online newspapers are virtual replicas of the original printed editions such as Trove historical Australian newspapers.

If no searchable online or electronic news archive is available then there may be a newspaper index which can be used. These are normally in printed form, sometimes on cards. A small number are available online. Newspaper indexes are a list of items in a newspaper, usually news reports, but sometimes personal notices or names. See Newspaper indexes for a guide.

Find by author

Most newspaper databases generally allow a search by author, often called the 'by-line'. This can be a useful method for searching if you are interested in all the articles by a particular journalist or columnist on a particular topic.

Our online newspaper databases usually have options to search by author. Note that many newspaper articles don't include the author's name.

Find by date

Most newspaper archives allow searches to be limited by date. This can be useful if you know the approximate date already and you want to find your item quickly.

Date limits can be anything from one day, several days, months or a span of years. It is especially useful if looking for an article on a topic which is in the news constantly.

Some newspaper archives also allow a 'browse by date' option which can be used for checking the news on a particular day, or for finding an item if you know the exact day or week  it was published but not many other details. Letters to the editor are often found this way.

Find by name or phrase

A name search or phrase search can usually be made in most searchable newspaper archives. Try putting  the name or phrase in quotation marks, and combine it with a phrase, e.g. "Kevin Rudd" and "climate change". Add a date limit, e.g. 2008 and other keywords, e.g carbon tax,  to narrow your search further.

This is an example of a phrase search using the "basic search" on Proquest ANZ Newsstream

Keyword phrase search

Popular newspaper archives

Popular historical archives

Conservation categories

In the Library catalogue entry of some newspapers, you may notice the note ‘Conservation Category’. This refers to the condition of the newspaper for the nominated years. The note will appear like this:
'Conservation category 3. Damaged: 1969-1970.'
'Conservation category 4. 1919'

The categories alert newspapers users (both Library staff and public) to the condition of the nominated years - the lower the number, the better the condition. For newspapers, there are four categories:

Conservation category 1: Frail

Conservation category 2. Fragile

Conservation category 3. Damaged

Conservation category 4. Use with extreme caution

Many of our earlier Victorian newspapers are bound, though not all. Often the entire year is classified as 'fragile' - but sometimes it is only some issues within the volume. Sadly, many of these fragile issues are untreatable. Newspapers were published on thin paper and were not designed to last very long.

The Library has treated and repaired fragile papers where possible.  These papers can be ordered; however, users may need to adjust their handling technique to suit the condition of the paper.  Staff in the Heritage Collections Reading Room (where the papers are viewed) may need to assess if the paper can be viewed - and will assist users to view and handle the material as required.