Monday, March 16, 2009

Winnipeg Free Press - On-line Newspaper Access

The Canadian newspaper, the Winnipeg Free Press, now is offering a pay service for its archive - back to 1874, including all the earlier newspapers associated with the Free Press - this service is through NewspaperARCHIVE. From the Free Press links, you can buy a subscription (annual, monthly, weekly or one day) or order reprints (cheaper than at NewspaperARCHIVE). This is an interesting development - although, of course, I'm unhappy to see that the Winnipeg Free Press hasn't made the archives free instead, as other newspaper companies have.

Here is a link to the Winnipeg Free Press's own history page. The paper began in 1872. What did happen to those first two years?

Digitized access to the historical Winnipeg Free Press has been available for quite some time through NewspaperARCHIVE (and NewspaperARCHIVE is available if you're a blue Godfrey Library subscriber or may be available to you at Family History Centers run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). I didn't think the coverage at NewspaperARCHIVE was complete; perhaps it will be soon? The press release I read says the Winnipeg Free Press site includes "all Free Press content from 1874 to 2009" and the Free Press does say that "additional pages will be added as they become available".

The searches look the same but there may be differences in indexing and coverage. I will be trying the Winnipeg Free Press once at least, I'm sure, looking for my Newdale and other Manitoba people.

Before you pay, be sure to check out the free historical Manitoba newspapers available through though. For the earlier years, you may find what you're looking for there.

Cold North Wind Inc., known on-line as 'Paper of Record', the groundbreaking Canadian newspaper digitizing company which recently 'disappeared' from the Internet, had the Manitoban from 1870 - 1874 and the Winnipeg Times
from 1879 - 1885. Google bought Paper of Record, but has been very slow at including those digitized newspapers in its Google News Archive, apparently for both technical and licensing reasons.

On most of the Google News Archives searches now, I see 'Pay-For-View'. In my opinion, it was a very, very sad day for Canadian history when Paper of Record was sold out of the country. It would have been a great acquisition for Library and Archives Canada - another opportunity lost instead.

For more information about accessing the Winnipeg Free Press digitally or on microfilm, see the University of Manitoba's information here. Note that this page hasn't been recently updated, however, the information is still correct, if no longer quite complete. Microfilm copies of this and other Canadian newspapers are available at or through most academic or public libraries in Canada. Ask your favourite librarian for details!

Oh, dear - I realized after this was published that I neglected to mention that also has indexed and digitized versions of some years of the Winnipeg Free Press. To be honest, I have always found this awkward to use, however, any indexing is good, I do say. access is available at many larger libraries or by subscription. Again, speak with your favourite librarian.

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