How to find newspapers

How to find current, historical and online newspapers

Newspaper digitisation at State Library Victoria

State Library Victoria encourages the reformatting and digitisation 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

John Dyett, sitting, with moustache, holding a pipe and reading newspaperH2010.105/851d  (this work is in copyright)

Your local paper

'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, we need to establish if the microfilm masters of the newspaper you wish to digitise are available. To ascertain whether the Library holds the paper, complete the newspaper digitising enquiry form and a staff member will get back to you.

If we don't hold the masters and you wish to digitise from the Library's hardcopy newspapers, submit a newspaper digitisation form, remembering that hardcopy digitisation is a more complex and expensive process.

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 you intend to digitise from your own hardcopy, and you already have funding, contact the National Library directly after reading the contributor guidelines.

Digitising from the microfilm

If the Library does hold the microfilm masters of the paper, and for the dates you require, we may then lend them to the National Library of Australia 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 microfilm is more efficient than using the hardcopy and cheaper. You can read more about the National Library's digitisation process and workflow online.

Digitising from the hardcopy

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 4 weeks 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 Collection Care team 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. colac newspaper, and look in the 'locations' field for a call number beginning with 'NMR', i.e. NMR Colac.

Locate Trove newspapers

Tim Sherratt has developed a map which pinpoints newspaper titles that have been digitized on Trove. It's very handy to see what areas and time periods have been covered across Australia.


Newspaper digitising enquiry form

If you have an enquiry about newspaper digitisation at SLV, fill out the newspaper digitising enquiry form  and staff will respond shortly. Thank you.


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.


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.



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 newspaper's record in the Library catalogue - under the 'Details' in the newspaper record. You will then need to contact them directly, or trace who subsequently owns the rights.

Reformatting to USB / CD ROM

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:

  • Loans will be made to projects by community groups such as historical societies, family history organisations, museums, and other similar historical or heritage groups, as well as to individuals 
  • Microfilms will only be loaned to appropriate microfilming companies and other reformatting agencies with expertise recognised by the State Library of Victoria.
  • Loans are made on condition the Library receives gratis copies of DVDs or other reformatted material. A copy of the DVDs or other reformatted material should also be lodged with the local library or relevant History Society.
  • That all copyright clearances - if relevant - are obtained

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.