How to find items in newspapers

Finding newspaper articles, images and more using databases and indexes

Subject Librarian

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Paul Dee
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Newspaper searching

This is a guide to newspaper research. It lists research tools and gives tips for finding items when the date an item appeared is not known. The item you are looking for could be an article, personal notice, or an image in a newspaper. 

This guide identifies some ways for you to search online newspapers or to use online or printed indexes to find a range of newspaper content.

If you already know when an item appeared in a newspaper then the How to find newspapers guide can be used to find online, microfilm and printed editions of newspapers.

This guide is aimed at researching articles and other content that is older than a few months, going as far back as the 1800s. For very recent news (including today's news, and news less than 60 days old), registered Victorian users can use PressReader to read newspapers in virtual replica format.

Newspaper resources

Watch this video on our newspaper card indexes.

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For details of the sessions see our What's On calendar.  The handout for the Newsworthy session can be downloaded here:

Newspaper archives: free and paid services

Some online newspaper archives are freely available to anyone, such as the Historic Australian newspapers which includes over 300 Victorian papers, such as The Argus published in Melbourne from 1846 to 1956 and The Age.

Other online archives require payment, like ProQuest Australia & New Zealand Newsstream. Libraries pay an annual fee to the providers of these type of newspaper archives. Our registered Victorian users are permitted free access to the archives that we subscribe to.

Be aware if you are accessing a free archive or one which requires you to be a registered user of a library. If you try to access a subscription-based newspaper archive without being a registered user then your access will be blocked.

Our How to find newspapers research guide lists both free archives and those only available to the Library's registered Victorian users.

Digitising newspapers

Learn how the Library digitises newspapers; from selection of titles through conservation to the scanning of the pages.

Newspaper with conservation tools


The annual Local History Grants Program, run by Public Record Office Victoria, supports digitising projects. It also has a list of funding sources. The National Library of Australia runs Community Heritage Grants. Other avenues of funding maybe your local council, university or philanthropic sources.