Tuesday, December 20, 2011


The Proquest database contains more than 1190 newspaper titles such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. Over 1100 are full-text.

Four titles are of local interest:

  • Star Tribune (1867-1922, 1986 - current)
  • St. Paul Pioneer Press (2010 - current)
  • St. Cloud Times (2002 - current)
  • Sioux Falls Argus-Leader (2002 - current)

The historical New York Times from 1851 - 2007 is also included.

Proquest has a new, simple, “Google-style” interface. After a search is done, a plethora of limiters are available on the right-hand side. These include date, publication title, language, location, named person or company, document type (news, commentary, review), and source type (newspapers, wire feeds, journal). The default sort is relevance, but it can be changed to date. I especially like the bar graph showing dates, so you can see at a glance which date has the most results and limit to that time period.

There are also new options for sharing and managing results just above the results and on the right. With “My Research”, the patron can create a user name and password to save results in the cloud. They can email, print, create citations (APA, Chicago, MLA, Turabian, etc), and save to a flash drive (results can be saved as .pdf, .rtf or html).

Just below the search box on the right, there are options to save a search to “My Research”, get new results for a search by email, or create an RSS feed. You can also use “My Research” to save a public list. This could be useful if you have several documents you want to send to a patron, or for students working on a group project.

Within an individual article, the patron has the additional options of tagging it and sharing it to social networks. “See similar documents” gives you more options if one result of your search was much better than the others. For historical newspapers, there is also a “Page View” option that lets you see the article in context and click on other articles on that page.

The advanced search gives you two options: a guided search or a command line box where you type in your own Boolean terms. The “look up” options to the right of the “search option” boxes are helpful to make sure that your spelling of a person, place or company matches that of the database. There are many more document type options than the basic search: recipe, memoir, review (no longer broken down into book, movie, or play as in the old interface), speech, stock quote, obituary, etc.  

Obituary search is a new option on the upper left. The presenter mentioned that "remembering" is a good keyword to search for obituaries in the Star Tribune.
Proquest is a good source for international points of view, with publications such as The Guardian, Jerusalem Post, South China Morning Post, and El Norte. Some articles are in other languages, but clicking on “translate” provides a machine translation on most articles.

--Andrea @Central

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