29 August 2008

Google News Archive Search [Reference Shelf]

Google's News Archive search now has some very useful content and features, making it a necessary stop on the research path for genealogists. Whereas the Google News archive used to span 30 days, it now searches historical content from sites such as NewspaperArchive, Google Books, Ancestry Newspapers, The Los Angeles Times, The Atlanta Constitution, and The New York Times Archive, giving the archive a span of over 150 years, and fabulous breadth of content. Articles are marked with ($$) where access is limited by charge. Results from subscription sites work seamlessly if you are logged in to your paid account.

Accessing the Archive
To access the Google News Archive search, visit Google News. The link to the archive search is located in the upper left-hand corner:

Enter your search terms in the search field:

And you'll see your returns in a pretty typical Google search format:

This is well and good, but Google takes it one step further with a handy option to view your results along a timeline, a very interesting way to visualize the coverage of your particular topic across time.

Using the Timeline
The "Timeline" link is at the top of your search results:

Clicking on this link shows you an interactive and clickable graph of the results from the archive search according to years. In this case, of course, the higher the bar on the graph, the more results found in the news that particular year:

Let's say I'm especially interested in researching news reports about the 1905 outbreak of yellow fever in New Orleans. I can click on the ten-year segment in the timeline for 1900-1920, and the graph breaks down into individual years for that decade:

As you can see, the block for 1905 shows a much larger results return than other years in the decade. I can continue to click on the segments I am interested in until I reach the months of 1905. As the yellow fever outbreak began in July and ran through the bulk of the late summer, we see a correlating result list in this graph:

Clicking on the individual months will show only the search results for that time period, allowing me to follow the chronology of the outbreak coverage across months. Very cool!


Kathryn Doyle said...


This is fantastic. Your Google tricks are the best. I had no idea of the timeline feature. Thanks for being such a great teacher!

Jennifer said...

Thanks Kathryn! Glad you find the posts useful!