One of our most frequently asked questions is “Can I search old Buffalo newspapers online?” The answer is, “It depends.” Some newspapers have been digitized at some websites, which we talk about below. But all of the major Buffalo newspapers starting with our first paper, the Buffalo Gazette, founded in 1811, are not online in any comprehensive or systematic way. We hope to make an announcement soon about a newspaper digitization plan.
Until then, there are multiple online newspaper sites with random chunks of this or that newspaper, so we decided to make our own search engine to make it easier to access them. We focused on sites likely to have Buffalo articles and sites indexed by Google.
When we had several that fit the bill, we set up a custom search engine called Buffalo Newspapers.
With this single search box, you can simultaneously drill into these newspaper sites and use all of the Google operators you’ve gotten used to, like quotation marks to find a phrase, or the –(minus symbol) to leave out a word. Four of the sites are free, but two have a paywall or require a paid membership. At the pay sites, you may get the first paragraph free, which will help you decide if it is worth purchasing the entire article.
What’s Under the Hood:
|Name of Site||Comments||Coverage begins||Coverage ends||Fee or Free||Indexed by Google|
|Buffalo News||The Buffalo News does not permit Google to index its archives, but it has a reseller, Highbeam.com, who does||1998||present||$||Yes, through Highbeam.com|
|Chronicling America||This is where the Library of Congress is gradually digitizing the nation’s newspapers||Colonial Era||1922||Free||Yes|
|FultonHistory.com||Scanned microfilms from around upstate NY, with imperfect OCR[i]||1795||2007||Free||Yes|
|New York Times||The NYT used to pay attention to Buffalo. When you open a link from the NYT, look for the tiny link to download a PDF||1851||1980||Free||Yes|
|Newspapers.com||Operated by Ancestry.com, presently has 61 newspapers from around New York State||1797||1977||$||Yes|
|NYShistoricnewspapers.org||This is a collaborative effort to host digitized newspapers from around New York State||Colonial Era||1922 in most cases||Free||Yes|
[i] OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition, the software that enables a computer to “read” printed pages and make them full-text searchable
If you like this search engine, we invite you to embed it at your blog or website. Please contact us in the Library to request the code: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cynthia Van Ness
Director of Library and Archives