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Directory of U.S. Newspapers in American Libraries: A Guide for Researchers

Search Tips

The Directory of U.S. Newspapers in American Libraries contains more than 150,000 serial title records for historic newspapers published in the United States from 1690 to the present. Also included are hundreds of thousands of Local Data Records indicating which libraries hold which copies and in what format. These records are created and edited by members of the Cooperative Online Serials (CONSER) cataloging program and currently hosted in the OCLC WorldCat bibliographic catalog. Updated CONSER records will be added to the Directory at regular intervals utilizing the OCLC WorldCat Search API.

Users can search the Newspaper Directory in a variety of ways, utilizing the data encoded by CONSER catalogers. Search results rely on the unedited CONSER data as it was created in the MARC format.

Below are some tips and guidance on searching the Directory using basic search, using the advanced search, and adjusting faceted search options to optimize your search results.

Basic Search

The Basic Search is helpful way to begin research without specific information on hand. Results from a basic search of the Directory of U.S. Newspapers will yield Newspaper Title results from MARC Title/Subject Information and Historic Title Essays matching your search term(s).

Image of the Basic Search option
Image of the Basic Search option found at the top of the page.


For basic searches, results listed first are most likely to be relevant to your search. Results will appear higher in the list when they contain

  • exact matches of your search terms;
  • more of your search terms;
  • repeated search terms;
  • search terms that occur near each other.

Keep the following points in mind:

  • The Directory of U.S. Newspapers contains newspaper titles so the most common basic search strategy is to search Newspaper Titles.
  • Using quotation marks around your search term will limit your search for the "exact phrase" which can narrow your results.
  • Omitting the quotation marks around your search term will search for "any of these words" which can broaden your results.
  • Common words such as and, not, and the are ignored by the search engine.
  • Case of letters is ignored. For example, Civil and civil are treated the same.
  • Diacritic characters (accent marks, in non-English text) and other special characters may produce varied results, so to maximize potential results, conduct searches using plain (unaccented) letters in addition to letters with diacritics.
Image of the Advanced Search options
Image of the Advanced Search options.

Advanced Search

You can broaden or narrow your search for newspaper titles in the Directory using a variety of advanced search options.


  • Go to Directory of US Newspapers in American Libraries.
  • Select the plus (+) symbol to expand the Advanced Search.
  • Add keywords or phrases into the search bar or select from a variety of filters and date range.
  • Press enter or select the search icon.

Keep the following points in mind:

  • Adding multiple Keyword(s) fields will automatically search for matches with all terms (operator = AND).

  • All fields are optional. Including more information can narrow your results while including less information can broaden your results.

For some users, knowing the origin of these options will help in precise searching. These options rely on specific MARC fields in the title and local data records, as follows:

Name MARC Field
State 752 $b
County 752 $c
City 752 $d
Begin Year 008
End Year 008
Frequency 008
Language 008, 041
Ethnicity Press 650
Labor Press 650
LCCN 010
Material Type 852

Faceted Search Options

Use Faceted Search Options to help filter and narrow results even more by geographic coverage, newspaper title, date range, etc.

Commonly Used Search Options

Search Option Purpose and Recommendation:
  • Narrow results by Newspaper Title.
  • Pay attention to possible Newspaper Title changes and search accordingly.
  • Useful for finding articles or editorials from the same newspaper title.
  • Narrow results by a year range.
  • Less flexibility compared to the advanced search option.
State/Province (Geographic Coverage)
  • Narrow results by state.
  • Can be very broad compared to County/City level.
  • Use for finding newspaper titles from the same State.
  • Narrow results on the county level.
  • Use for finding newspapers titles from the same County.
  • Narrow results by city level.
  • Use for researching local, city news.
  • Use for finding newspaper titles from the same City.
  • Narrow results by ethnicity.
  • There are over 29 different ethnicities represented.
  • Small community-based ethnic newspapers can reveal local concerns of the communities which can lead to contrasting or similar viewpoints.
  • Narrow results by language found in the newspaper.
  • There are over 19 languages.
  • Language-based newspapers can provide contrasting or similar viewpoints, but require you to understand the language.
  • Narrow results based on newspaper print frequency.
  • Useful for finding monthly, weekly, or daily newspapers.
  • Narrow results based on Collection.
  • If you narrow the collection to Chronicling America, results will be limited to those digitized in Chronicling America.

Additional filters can be added to search results from the limiters on the left hand column of your search results.