Teaching with Historical Newspapers



>> Hello my name is Cheryl Lederle and I work in the Education Outreach
Department of Library of Congress. We are thrilled to welcome you to the Second
Annual Online Conference for Educators. Our session today, Teaching
with Historical Newspapers. Now I'd like to introduce our presenter. Megan Halsband is a Reference
Librarian of Serials and Government Publication
Division of Library of Congress. She is part of a team of Reference
Librarians that work in the Newspaper or Current Periodical Reading Room to provide
onsite and offsite reference assistance for the library's Newspaper, Periodical,
and Government Documents Collections. Megan also serves as a Specialist
for library's Comic Book collections. Welcome Megan. >> Thank you very much Cheryl
and welcome everybody. Hopefully, we'll get some good
discussion during today's session and I'll just go ahead and get started. Today I am going to talk with you about
Chronicling in America, an ongoing resource from the National Digital Newspaper Program
which is collaboration between the Library of Congress, the National Endowment
of the Humanities and state partners . We frequently get the question
— why use newspapers? Are newspapers primary sources? And yes, they are. That's the answer we generally give. A more in-depth explanation would be primary
sources are the raw materials of history — original documents and objects which
were created at the time of your study. They are different from secondary sources —
accounts or interpretations of events created by someone without first-hand experience. So what is chronically America? Chronicling America is digitized copies of historic newspapers from
across the United States. We recently expanded the date coverage
to include issues of newspapers from the early cross of the US
capitals — so going back to 1789. Currently, 43 state partners,
DC and Puerto Rico, participate and we have over 11 million pages. The goal of the program has
been to enhance access to historic American newspapers
hopefully from every state and territory. Once we progress long enough to apply emerging
technologies to the products of the US. newspaper program. Including Chronicling America. To develop best practices for the digitization
of historic newspapers and to provide free and open content that's available to everyone. Here's a map of this current
participating state partners. We have over 300,000 pages in French,
Italian, German, Spanish, and Finnish. And actually as of this year
[inaudible] will have the option to select any public domain content
published — even published after 1922. I believe the date range
for that goes up to 1963. So in the coming years, we will actually
have additional content passed 1922. There's over 2,000 titles at the moment. The titles that were actually
selected for inclusion were selected by the state partners themselves. Generally, they're not available elsewhere
online and were identified by the state partners at risk for loss without preservation. Something you might note is that there are
only select dates available for each title. Sometimes this can be because they
were only a certain number of issues that were available at the time of digitization. Sometimes those are the only
issues that exists anywhere. Each title is researched and selected
by the state partners, as I mentioned, and if the state partner continues the
program and identifies additional issues, I believe they do try to add new
issues as they are discovered. All right, so what you might
notice is the search bar that's on the homepage of Chronicling America. This is the, sort of, default search. We call it the Simple search. You can select a state, a date range
by year, and enter keywords in. The searching is a proximity search,
so it will search the words you type in within five words of one another. And generally, we find that this is
pretty useful for most keyword searching. Once you've entered a keyword search,
what you'll see is something like this. I did a search for presidential election. The results allow you to visually
scan the pages and take note of how many times the terms appear on the page. So the red box that you see there, you can
kind of observe whether the terms are part of the head line — whether there a caption from
an image — whether there are any images or not. Excuse me. The default sort is relevant but you can change
that to date, title, or state, I believe. Something that you might find useful, as well, is seeing how many times the
terms appear on the page. Pages that have fewer words,
total per page, will rank higher. So, it can be as you see here,
where ads will come up first. But sometimes the ads are
actually very interesting. For a variety of reasons they include images
and, that kind of, gives you a feeling of what popular reaction was like. What you might notice, here, is that the —
you can see that there are some ways of sorting and limiting as I mentioned, but
also that the search resulted in 130,245 results containing
presidential elections. Which is quite a few. You can limit it to show only front pages. Often front pages — front page
results include headlines and images which you might find useful in the classroom. Another way to limit, might be to select a
particular state or particular date range. But you can also use the advanced search
feature to narrow your results further. So, this is the advanced search page. And just in case you have not discovered
this yet, I — all of the pages — the images should be hyperlinked,
so you can go back to the page or go into the page on your own, later. So, as I mentioned the — excuse me [coughs] — the Simple search defaults to
what I call the proximity search which you see in the lower left corner. The Advanced search allows you to do
a couple different types of searching. The Any, All and the Phrase search. You can also enter a date — a more
specific date range — then years. It allows you to select from a calendar
view, which can be useful if you know that you're looking for reporting on a
particular — particular event say, you know, the election of 1860 and reporting on that. So, from November in 1860 you can
search for presidential election and get a more narrow result list. One thing to bear in mind when
using the date range though, is that instantaneous news may not have
been the norm during the time period that you're researching. Even though technological advances
such as telegraph and cable wire, cable news service existed,
instantaneous reporting was not the norm. And so, it could take days for events be re —
that happened on the east coast to be reported on the west coast and vice versa. Especially the earlier you get. So to go back to the search results
— sorry that's a little blurry — what you'll see is individual pages with the
keywords you selected highlighted in red. This we call Hit Highlighting and it allows,
as I mentioned, you to visually browse. Something that I wanted to mention
was that sometimes you might find that the expected language or keywords that you're using are not actually
use during the time period. Similarly, headlines were not used
in the same way that they are today. One example, that I will show in a little
bit is actually the election of 1860. Headlines did not read like
they did in even 1916. It just said Election across
one tiny part of the page. So, just bear that in mind
when you're searching. It may depend on the time period,
what kind of results you are getting. Sometimes, you can also get additional useful
keywords by reading some of the articles that you might not have thought of as well. >> So clicking on one of the results pages will
show you this — each page has a permanent link. It will allow you to view the entire page. Include the highlighted keywords and it includes
the citation information on the top and bottom and persistent link at the bottom
which is not pictured here. But I will talk about it in a minute. This is the toolbar that's on every page. From left to right you'll see the Zoom
In Zoom Out buttons, the Home button, the Fullscreen button, the
Image Drop Down menu is — actually allows you to navigate
between pages of the issue. You can also navigate between pages
or view all the pages of an issue. Click through the issues. See all issues of that particular title. Which we'll talk about in a minute. That's what we call the calendar view. You can also view the text behind the image,
save the image as a PDF or JPEG to file or clip a detail from the image which
I'll go over in a couple minutes. So, the Zoom feature allows you to
focus on the keywords that you found or read smaller text in a particular page. What you can see on this image here, hopefully,
is that the Zoom feature is outlined in red in the box on the top right corner. So if you — I've used this as an
example, where, if you want to, say, clip this image as a detail, what you would
do would be to go to that clipping tool that's on the right of the toolbox and it will allow
you to save a JPEG of that image for your use. Which you can repurpose into
a, you know, presentations, online presentations, you
can print out, save to file. As I mentioned, all the material that's
available here is freely available. There's no known rights restrictions
associated with this material. It should all be in the public domain
as far as the library is aware. So your stud — you and your students
can feel free to use this material for your research and your presentations. One thing people find particularly
useful is that permanent link. Which you see — I've, kind
of, tried to highlight here, that's the same link that's
at the bottom of every page. It doesn't include the keyword Hit Highlighting, but it will always get you
back to that same page. And as you can see, you can —
there's a link to print the image as well as downloading the image. So you don't — One thing that I
forgot to say, you don't have to be on the clipping tool to get
to that persistent link. It's on every page. And the zoom feature allows you
to, kind of, control, you know, the type of image that you end up downloading. So, in addition to some of those tools, one
thing that you might find useful in the digi — along with the digitized content from
Chronicling America are the newspaper histories that were created by the National
Digital Newspaper Program participants. These histories tell the story of
newspapers selected for digitization and how they fit into the state's history. Because histories can provide context for the
newspapers and enable you and your students to provide a more in-depth
analysis of the materials. For example, oops, let me go to this next one. So what you'll see is a link to the Calendar
View and then the beginning of that essay here on the New York Tribune and
the New York Daily Tribune. This can be a particularly
significant if you are researching, for example, political elections. You know, did the paper have
a party affiliation? In the 19th century many newspapers
were either Republican or Democratic and had a very specific political stance. If you're researching the
Civil War, you might see it — was this newspaper published in
the Northern or Southern State and all this information can
impact how you read the content that you're finding in the newspapers. So, for — I just picked
out a quick example here. This particular clipping it
says, "Election Results Hoorah. Buck and Breck on Their Heads." It doesn't actually say Lincoln elected. That's what it's talking about. It's from a November, 1860 issue of the Nebraska
Advertiser which was decidedly Republican and as the essay says, the editor was
actually a great admirer of President Lincoln. He had a feisty attitude towards Bourbon
Democrats i.e. Southern Democrats. So, I found this image pretty funny. But you'll find little gems
like this throughout. And sometimes it really does require, kind
of, just browsing and seeing what's available. But, you can on occasion
find funny things like this. You know, as I was kind of talking about,
depending on what you are researching, you know, may depend kind of how you
utilize Chronicling America. But, something you might find useful for
your classroom are the Recommended Topics which are guides to various subjects and
periods using newspapers in Chronically America. So, whether you need some ideas for — for
projects for your students or, just kind of, want to get a feel for how — We might
suggest you use some of the newspapers. You'll find quite a variety of examples here. There are over 250 Topics Pages which
have been created by LC Reference staff. Which include, I am sorry, which are
organized by subject as well as age range. There's also just a generic alphabetical list
of Topics Pages which just has the full list. And we're creating new ones all the time. And, if there's something that you don't
see on our list that you would like, send us an Ask a Librarian question. The link will be at the end
of this presentation. And let us know. We're happy to take suggestions. Because we really want teachers to
find these useful and to be able to have their students use
them in the classroom. So each of these pages, as I mentioned,
addresses a variety of topics, but one consistent thing that you'll find it
throughout them, is that they include links to — list of important dates,
suggested search terms and strategies, and links to sample articles. So here you'll see some suggested
search strategies and some sample links. Generally, the topics– they're bigger hits. You know, the — it's not an
exhaustive resource and given that we're continuously adding
additional content to Chronicling America. The results that you get using the
keywords will actually change over time. You know, there will be additional information
that you might find, additional articles. We just have selected or curated
some that we find, you know, interesting because of their
perspective or their, you know, a headline or an image that they've included. We try to include newspapers from
across the country when creating these. You know, not just focusing on the East Coast. As you can see, we have the Los Angeles
Herald, the Seattle Star, the New York Tribune, and the Pensacola Florida Journal. And so, you know, trying to get a wide
perspective on this particular election. And we try to do that with all of them. I just selected a few of the– Since we mentioned that we're going
to be focusing this presentation on presidential elections, I
listed a few of the Topics Pages that we've created specifically
related to elections. So, what you'll see here are
links to these, these elections. June — Chronicling America is similar
to Newspapers.com in a certain way and very different in another way. Chronicling America is a free resource so, you
know, everything that we have from the images to the data behind it is all open and viewable. The [inaudible] Newspapers.com and other
services like that generally don't tend to make all of that information available. That being said, they also have the ability
to include content that is protected by US copyright if they are
able to obtain clearance, which we do not provide any
access to copyrighted content. >> So that would be, I think, would
be one of the major differences. I do like as well that we've decided to
include newspapers that are at risk for loss. There's actually a surprising number of
materials that are not available in libraries and not available — that are widely — that are not widely available and so sometimes
you only find issues in special collections. So, hopefully, through this program we're, kind
of, making more of that material available. The Newspaper and Current Periodical
Reading room staff actually have an RSS feed which we highlight certain topics in
Chronicling America, as well as, you know, This Day in History and other
things which you can subscribe to through the Chronicling America home page. If you're at all interested, we
try to do it about once a week. We don't try to spam everybody but
you'll also be able to get announcements about when we add new content to Chronicling
America or when we reach certain milestones. A year-and-a-half ago or so when
we reached 10 million pages, we kind of talked that up a little bit. But, sometimes we find very funny things and
on This Day in History that are kind of fun. So using the Zoom and the Clipping
tool can, kind of, help overcome some of that tiny print and/or fading. You can also download the JPEG and then if
you have an image editor of some kind use that to enhance the contrast and that
can sometimes help with the readability. You know, part of the issue with some of
that material is that that was the best copy that was available to digitize from —
whether it was original or microfilm. And so, there isn't really a whole lot that
we can do about it now, outside of using and image editing software because it just–
the raw material was in that bad of shape. I generally tend to use the Clipping
tool and then an image editor. You don't even have to have
something like Photoshop, you can just use something very simple and
just increasing the contrast does help. Another set of Topics Pages
that we've created our kind of events related to presidential
administrations. So, for example, the impeachment
of Andrew Jackson or Theodore Roosevelt's Great White Fleet which
was kind of the celebratory event that happened after his — after his presidency. Where he sent the Navy off
on a worldwide expedition. The Cleveland's cancerous growth is
actually a fairly popular one as well, just because it's kind of strange. I forget exactly what it says. I think he has some sort of abscess in his jaw. There's a lot of strange things
that kind of come up newspapers. Sometimes viewing the PDF can be more helpful. It can– depending on how often that page
that you're looking at has been accessed, it may take a minute for it to load. The– a lot web browsers keep a cache and
so if it hasn't really been loaded much, your web browser may take a minute to
load the entire page and resolve it. Just bear that in mind because they
are — they can be fairly large files. So, I've included a number of links
here at the end of the presentation. The first link, obviously,
is to Chronicling America. The second link is to Ask A Librarian,
which is our mine reference service. As I've mentioned you can
select and– most of the new — library's reading rooms including
newspapers and current periodicals. Don't worry though if you don't
know which reading room to select, the librarians across the library know
when to refer it to other reading room. [cough] Excuse me. So, if– if you're not sure where
to send it don't worry about it. There's a direct link to the recommended
topics which we were talking about just now and you can find that whole
list by subject or date range. The — the always great Teachers page there
in the middle which has links to a number of resources including the Analyzing Newspapers
Teacher's Guide which I haven't really talked about here in this presentation much but that
can be quite useful with your students when, you know, you've identified an article for them
to look at and so it provides them with kind of questions about, you know ,how
to take a look at the newspaper. You know, who was writing it? Who was the audience of the time? Is it an ad? Is it, you know, an opinion piece? How, you know, what's the context for this? And so, that guide can be really useful when
you're working with your students on newspapers. The [inaudible]. The Education Outreach office does have
a great blog which has a number of posts that include Chronicling– references to
Chronicling America and using newspapers. There's actually a few links
in the next couple slides. Diana just mentioned if you're trying to access Chronicling America right
now you may get an error message because there's a lot of use right now. So, sorry about that. Just keep trying. Hopefully, it will eventually
catch u.p And as Cheryl mentioned, the teacher's guide offers questions
to help your students look more closely and think more deeply and then
activities for following up on that. And in some of the guides they'll pair
newspapers with materials from the Print and Photographs section and
other areas of the library, so that can be really useful and interesting. Some K-12 resources just specifically, there
is actually a special prize for the best use of Chronicling America for National History Day. In case you're using that —
you're doing National History Day. And then the National Endowment for the Humanities has developed a
number of teacher resources as well. So these are some links to some of
the primary source sets developed by the Education Outreach Office
which include newspaper materials. Women's suffrage is particularly relevant given
some of the examples that I brought in earlier. Votes for Women, it was an ad about
presidential elections before actually the 19th Amendment occurred. I believe that was from 1906, so
that was before Universal Suffrage. So, that might be something if
you're interested in that topic. Looking at, you know, votes for women pre-Universal Suffrage
versus post-Universal Suffrage. The Spanish-American War has kind of contin
— has been continually popular topic as well. A lesson plan on the Titanic which Cheryl
actually wrote and that's quite good. And then, some links to some of the
blog posts that include references to Chronicling America and newspapers. And again the Titanic, 12 Years
a Slave, presidential elections. I was trying to do a little bit of digging on
some presidential elections and I mentioned at the beginning of this talk, one of
the curious things when I was looking at Lincoln's first election, was
how the newspapers reported it. And there were six to eight columns
of text in the newspapers of the time and sometimes the only headline you got
was "Election" across one of the columns. It wasn't a full page headline. Sorry Jody [Assumed Spelling], you're correct. 19th amendment is not equal
to Universal Suffrage. Sorry. You're right. So, the election of 1860 was interesting not
only because of looking at how it was covered in the newspapers but also depending
on whether the newspaper was from a Northern or Southern state. I found a few reports from Louisiana papers
and Virginia papers which even, you know, two, three, four days after the
election would not acknowledge that Lincoln had actually been elected. It– the text was kind of saying "If Lincoln was
elected" or "If — " the black — What at is it? Something about the black
Democrat with a black Republican. It was something very interesting. So, I think, students would have an interesting
time, kind of, looking at how the coverage of a particular election, you know, happened
depending on where the newspaper was published. And I pulled a little, an image here that — the
Hawaiian Star than included some interesting, I can't — I forget if these — I think these
are lithographs of the presidential candidates. And what might be interesting to students
now, that I was discovering, is, you know, for a very long time there
were generally four parties. Even up until about a hundred
years ago, four or more parties that were participating in
the presidential election. It wasn't just a two-party race. And so, here you can see the four candidates,
which I thought was kind of interesting.

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