Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Digital newspapers: Researching Hawai'i and the Pacific in 19th and 20th century newspapers

This article, retrieved via TROVE from
The Brisbane Courier, dates from
Wednesday 21 August 1889, and
discusses the Wilcox rebellion in Hawai'i

(click to enlarge)
Both the Hawaiian and Pacific Collections have a great many historic newspapers, dating from the 19th century through present. Many are in microfilm format, and most have not been indexed, meaning that if you're searching for a specific event, your only option may be to go to the microfilms and begin reading papers dating from the period you're interested in. However, some have been digitized, and in these cases are searchable and readable online. In some cases, these newspapers are housed in paid-access databases; below are three open-access sites:

Chronicling America: Covers U.S. newspapers from 1836 to 1922, including (to date) fifteen different titles from Hawai'i (with more to come). Although these are U.S. and Hawai'i papers, they often cover major Pacific events of the day, and in terms of Pacific research can be useful in understanding how residents of Hawai'i and the continental U.S. viewed events in the broader Pacific. (For more on the Hawaiian Collection's participation in the Chronicling America project, click here.)

Papers Past (Aotearoa/New Zealand): The National Library of New Zealand hosts this site, which includes Aotearoa/New Zealand papers from the 19th and early 20th centuries. These papers can be useful for events not only in their home country, but throughout the Pacific -- see for instance their coverage of events in Hawai'i during the latter part of the 19th century.

TROVE (Australia): Hosted by the National Library of Australia, TROVE searches across a vast array of digital content produced by numerous Australian institutions. Digitized newspapers cover the years from 1803 to 1954.

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