How to find newspapers

How to find current, historical and online newspapers

Newspaper catalogue records

The online catalogue is the main tool for finding newspapers kept by the State Library of Victoria. Searches can be made by title, place of publication, keywords and by user tags. There are some search tips below. There are also some tips about newspaper catalogue records which will help you understand how to read a catalogue entry. 

Catalogue searching tips

Find by title

If you know the name of a newspaper, search the online catalogue by title to find where the newspaper is located. If it is a common name try adding the city or place of publication after the title, for example Bulletin, Sydney, this will reduce the number of search results to a more manageable number.

Find by "Place newspaper published"

You can search by town, city, region, state, or country if you do not know the name of a particular newspaper. You need to use the ‘Advanced’ search option of the catalogue to do this then chose 'In place newspaper published' from the drop down and then the name of the place, for example, 'Seymour' (see image below).



Sorting search results

When you do a search for newspapers, you can sort your search results. This is especially useful if there are a lot of newspapers with a similar name. You can sort results by date from newest to oldest. You can also refine your search by creation date, resource type or by subject. These sorting options are called Facets. Make use of them to refine your searches.

Title changes

Newspapers often change their name over time. If a newspaper changes its name it will have a separate catalogue entry for each new name.

Some newspapers have changed their names many times, sometimes reverting to their original names, and then changing again, for example, see Daily Telegraph, Sydney. Under 'Details' see the 'Related Works' note for this information.

Publication dates vs holdings dates

Newspapers are continuing publications, sometimes called 'serials' or 'periodicals'. Some newspapers are very old and a Library may not hold all issues. The catalogue records will show the dates of publication and the 'holdings', i.e. the actual issues the Library has. So make sure the Library has the actual issues you want to see. The catalogue record below shows that the Cape Times was published from 1887 until 1913, but that the Library only has issues from January 1895.


State Library Victoria

Note - we have just upgraded our Library catalogue and are updating some links on our guides.

As we do this some catalogue links may not resolve correctly.


Newspaper collection call numbers

N= paper copy held onsite
NM= microfilm on open access
NSM= microfilm in onsite storage
NMR=paper copy held offsite

For example The Age is found in several locations.

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 year. 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 are able to be viewed, however users may need to adjust their handling technique to suit the condition of the paper. In some cases, only specific pages will be able to viewed.

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.

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.