Thursday, March 8, 2007

Database Use Tip: Coverage of the New York Times

Three periodical databases provided by the Sawyer Library cover the New York Times. However, there are significant differences in the dates of coverage, search flexibility, and document format amongst the three databases.

The New York Times (1851 - 2003):

The New York Times (1851 - 2003), obtained through ProQuest, provides the article image (PDF) and the image of the full page on which the article appeared, going back to the first issue in 1851. The text is searchable, and the advanced search allows limiting to certain types of articles (document type), such as the front page, editorials (including cartoons), letters to the editor, obituaries and marriage notices (useful for those of us interested in genealogy). There is a three year time lag of availability for current issues, therefore the most recent three years of the NYT will not be available through this database, however for material prior to 1980, this is the only electronic option. Results may be displayed either oldest (historic) first, most recent first, or most relevant first.

[FIND the New York Times (1851 - 2003) on the "Databases by Subject" list under the Social Science, Business and Management, and Literature, Arts and Humanities categories.]

LexisNexis Academic:

LexisNexis Academic offers the full text of the New York Times from June 1, 1980 through the current (today's) issue. Photographs, classifieds, and stock market financial listings are not included. Also, some freelance articles that had previously been available have been removed, due to the 2001 Supreme Court decision (New York Times v. Tasini) concerning the infringement of copyright on freelance articles included in electronic databases. Users can limit their search in Lexis to just the New York Times by choosing 'Sources,' typing New York Times, and clicking 'search this title.' Lexis offers the greatest precision with regard to the placement of search terms. Terms may be placed in any combination of headline, headline and lead paragraph, anywhere in the full text, or author name. Furthermore, the user may specify how close words appear relative to each other: within sentence (w/s), within paragraph (w/p),
or within a certain number of words (w/number). Browsing by date is not an option in LexisNexis Academic. Results are listed in reverse chronological order, but may be changed to sort by relevance. Users may skip to older articles by using the 'Jump to Document' feature, which divides the results into groups of 25.

[FIND LexisNexis Academic on the "Databases by Subject" list, under Business and Management, Social Sciences, and General Resources. Lexis is the first option on the General Resources list.]

Academic OneFile:

Academic OneFile from Thomson Gale (a.k.a. Infotrac) covers the full text of the New York Times from January 1, 1995 to the present (yesterday's issue). The primary advantage to OneFile is the ability to search/browse the Sunday Book Review and Sunday Magazine sections separately, and to choose an individual issue by date for a listing of the entire contents. A 'Publication Search' in OneFile for the New York Times will lead the user to the various browse options. An Advanced search allows the user to specify the New York Times and choose the placement of the search terms (document title, full text) and types of terms (company name, personal name).

[FIND Academic OneFile within the Thomson Common Menu (InfoTrac), listed in the General Resources section of the Databases by Subject" list.]

Print and Microfilm Resources:

The Sawyer Library has the actual print newspaper (most recent several weeks), and microfilm of the paper from 1925 forward. In addition, the Sawyer Library has indexes to the New York times (albeit in print format) covering the entire paper from 1925 to 2000. Each year is covered by its own index volume. Articles are listed alphabetically by subject, and the later volumes include brief summaries of the articles. There is also a separate two volume Obituaries Index (v.1 1858-1968, v.2 1969-1978).

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