How to find current, historical and online newspapers
State Library Victoria encourages the reformatting and duplication of Victoria's newspapers by community groups, such as historical societies, family history organisations, museums, as well as individuals.
We support newspaper digitisation to Trove in a number of ways, including supplying materials, supporting grant applications and liaising with local organisations and colleagues at the National Library (where Trove is based).
There are a number of ways newspapers make it onto Trove, involving various workflows and technologies and diverse sources of funding. We have detailed processes and requirements on this page, so hopefully they answer your initial questions.
Unidentified man, sitting, with moustache, holding a pipe and reading newspaper. H2010.105/851d (this work is in copyright)
'How do I get my local paper on Trove?', we hear you ask. Most of the newspapers on Trove are derived from the microfilm master of the newspaper. The master copy provides the best quality images of the paper (apart from the physical copy). The State Library holds many microfilm masters of Victorian papers- but not all.
So firstly, you need to establish if the microfilm masters of the newspaper you wish to digitise are available. To ascertain whether the Library holds the masters, complete the newspaper digitising form and a staff member will get back to you.
You will also need to secure funding - perhaps you are applying for a grant or you already have funds? Public Record Office Victoria offers annual local history grants, which is one avenue of funding. Other sources include your local council or university, private businesses, your local history organisation or philanthropic trusts or foundations.
If we don't hold the masters and you wish to digitise from the Library's hardcopy newspapers, you can also submit a newspaper digitisation form, remembering that hardcopy digitisation is a more complex and expensive process.
If you intend to digitise from your own hardcopy, and you already have funding, contact the National Library directly after reading the contributor guidelines.
If the Library does hold the microfilm masters of the paper, and for the dates you require, we may then lend them to the NLA on your behalf for digitisation to Trove. Microfilms will only be loaned to appropriate microfilming companies and other reformatting agencies with expertise recognised by State Library Victoria.
Digitising from the physical papers is a more labour-intensive process than digitising from the microfilm - but sometimes it's the only option. Many of the older papers are very fragile and vulnerable so preparing them can take a long time. See our blog Digitising Newspapers for further details on the process.
Enquiries regarding digitising from the hardcopy newspaper must be submitted at least 6 months prior to the opening of any grant applications. This allows our teams' time to assess the paper's condition. Most of our newspapers, pre-1980, are bound in volumes - and one volume's condition can vary from another. Our Conservation department needs to assess each volume for tears, creases and any other damage.
You can check our hard copy holdings by searching the catalogue. Simply enter a place name and 'newspaper', i.e. waranga newspaper, and look in the 'locations' field for a call number beginning with 'NMR', i.e. NMR Waranga.
You've probably noticed that nearly all of the newspapers on Trove cease at 1954. This is because newspapers after 1955 are considered to be in copyright. Thus any application to digitise papers after 1954 requires the written permission of the copyright owner.
Finding the copyright owner may be difficult. You can firstly establish who published the paper in the Library catalogue - under the 'details' tab in the newspaper record. You will then need to contact them directly, or trace who subsequently owns the rights.
The Library can assist by providing loans of microfilm printing masters for reformatting projects such as conversion of microfilm to digital formats, such as compact disk.
The Library applies the following criteria to requests for loans:
It is important to note that conversion from microfilm to DVD will not mean that the scanned papers can then be ingested into Trove. Trove requires material to be scanned to specific standards. If you are interested in having the files uploaded onto Trove, and the State Library of Victoria encourages this, then contact Trove directly before commencing your reformatting project. More information is available online. Trove inquiries can be made to:
The Contributor Liaison Officer
Australian Newspaper Plan
National Library of Australia
(02) 6262 1005
The Library holds approximately 100,000 volumes of newspapers and over 40,000 reels of microfilm, covering 4000 titles. Selecting which papers to digitise can be difficult. There are many worthy and appropriate titles which we'd love to see online - but it often comes down to resourcing.
Older, more fragile Victorian papers are usually given priority but there are a number of other considerations, such as the geographic area and the population the paper represented, whether the paper contained key historical or intellectual content and papers which are in high demand.
Each nominated title will be considered in conjunction with the Library's broader digitising priorities and resources.
Throughout the 1970s and 80's the Library created many microfilms from the hardcopy papers. This ensured the public could access the information in the papers whilst still preserving the originals. With the advent of Trove, the Library decided to cease creating microfilms from the hardcopy and use the resources to digitise to Trove.
We do still purchase microfilms of The Age as well as msot major interstate dailies such as the Sydney Morning Herald and the Courier Mail.
To see what we hold on film, consult the Guide to newspapers on microfilm
As of June 15 2020 the Library is open with reduced spaces and services.
Our Ask A Librarian reference service is still available to assist with your research inquiries.