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Chronicling America: A Guide for Researchers

Download and View Files

Images of historic newspaper pages, as well as uncorrected page text, are displayed through your web browser. However, Chronicling America also contains high-resolution images (JPEG2000) and enhanced text (PDF) that may require special viewers or instructions for accessing them.

When selecting an image of a newspaper page, you are presented with three image displays at the top left.

  • Image (Default display)
    • Zoom in/out using the +/- icons or scroll up/down using your mouse.
    • Red highlights on the image may appear if the image was found as a result of a search. 
    • Clip portions of the newspaper page to save, download or share.
  • Image w/ Text: Same features as Image, but provides associated OCR text on the left side of the image.
  • PDF:
    • A search option is available to search the displayed PDF image.
    • Zoom in/out using the +/- icons only.

At the bottom left of the display, there is an option for downloading the full newspaper page.

Viewing OCR Text

Image w/Text comparison of image and OCR.
Image w/Text comparison of image and OCR.

For a side-by-side view of the Image and its corresponding OCR text, select the button on the top left of the screen Image w/Text.

Although errors in the OCR text may be common, OCR is still a powerful tool for making text-based items accessible to searching. For example, important concept words often appear more than once within an article. Therefore, if OCR misreads one instance of a key word in a passage, but correctly reads the second instance, the passage will still be found in a full-text search.

Download Full Newspaper Pages

Images of the full newspaper page from Chronicling America can be downloaded.

image download options
  • Go to the newspaper image.
  • On the bottom left of the image, you can choose various Download formats and size options from the drop down menu.
  • After selecting the file format and size, click Go.
  • If you select the JPEG2000, you will receive a pop-up to download the file or the file may download automatically.
  • If you select the JPEG option, the image will appear in a new window or tab. Once the image has appeared, right click and select Save Image As.

Definitions of Download Options

Name File Format Description or Use Required Software
OCR(ALTO) = Optical Character Recognition encoded using the Analyzed Layout and Text Object XML Schema .XML Contains associated text found on the images in coordinates of textual boundaries. Does not contain Images. Internet Browsers, Text Editors
PDF (Portable Document Format) .PDF Medium to high quality.
Contains image with associated OCR embedded text.
Browsers with build-in PDF viewers, free and commercial PDF viewers, Adobe Acrobat
JPEG .JPEG or .JPG Low to medium quality.
Pay attention to the file size of the download. Lower file size can be much lower quality.
Any image viewer
JPEG 2000 .JP2 Highest quality available as a download on Chronicling America. Free and commercial image viewers and image editing programs (irFanView, Adobe Photoshop, etc.)