Center for Research Libraries - Global Resources Network

Resources for

Reviews of Historic Online Newspapers in CRL’s Global Resources Forum

Virginia Kerr
Digital Program Manager, Center for Research Libraries


Times of India building, corner of Elphinstone Cir., 1880. Genl. Nassau Lees, Proprietor. © British Library Board (Photo 643/[9]

Reviews of online databases of historic newspapers are a key element of a new feature on CRL’s website, the Global Resources Forum. Formally launched in April 2011, but evolving from longstanding CRL cooperative collection-building efforts, the Forum aims to foster community exchange of information through analysis, reviews, feedback, and comments contributed by individuals at CRL libraries.

CRL now prepares analytical reviews for any online database for which it arranges licensing terms. The Forum also offers reviews of other e-resources of primary source collections of high interest to CRL and Global Resources libraries, including the areas of politics, legislation, finance, trade, and public policy. News databases are currently featured in the following Forum reviews:

  • AskZad
  • F.A.Z. (Frankfurther Allgemeine Zeitung)
  • Izvestiia
  • Pravda
  • The Times of India

Wherever possible, initial information for the reviews is compiled upon the first release announcement for a new database, and then continually augmented. CRL seeks confirmation of specifications and licensing terms directly from the publisher, then aggregates critical assessments of the content and interface when trial access is offered. Reviews of online newspaper titles such as The Times of India include publication and microfilming histories, noting holdings at CRL libraries.

These “community sourced” reviews are based on shared knowledge from assessments contributed by the CRL community. Individuals can either author full reviews or submit comments. Feedback forms posted with each review solicit views from all readers on the research value of the content and the strengths and weaknesses of the database platform. These comments will be integrated into the reviews, along with case studies of use or potential uses of the resource. The reviews will offer ongoing utility, reflecting the current value of various news databases in the overall environment of research resources of all formats.

CRL encourages readers to submit comments about the products reviewed as well as suggestions for future reviews, so that the Global Resources Forum can help CRL libraries to optimize return on their investments in digital collections and services.