African American Newspapers, 1827-1998
This digital collection from Readex provides access to approximately 270 wide-ranging U.S. newspapers created by and featuring African Americans from the mid-1800s to the late 1990s. Based on James P. Danky’s African-American Newspapers and Periodicals: A National Bibliography, this collection, completed in 2011, is an important documentation of events, covering life in the Antebellum South and the various historical and cultural accounts that shaped the lives of Americans during this period.
CRL is working to gather additional information and critical assessment of this resource. We encourage our community to submit comments on their experiences with it.
This resource is currently offered to CRL libraries at favorable terms. Representatives at each library have been sent login access to view purchase or subscription offers.
Sources for this review include information publicly posted or obtained directly from the publisher, data collected by CRL staff and members, and examination of the digital collection when possible. Other sources are noted where cited.
This database is also reviewed in: Cheryl LaGuardia, “eReviews: African-American Newspapers, 1827-1998,” Library Journal May 1, 2012. Accessed October 3, 2012.
This digital collection from Readex provides access to approximately 270 wide-ranging U.S. newspapers created by and featuring African Americans from the mid-1800s to the late 1990s. Based on James P. Danky's African-American Newspapers and Periodicals: A National Bibliography, this collection, completed in 2011, is an important documentation of events, covering life in the Antebellum South and the various historical and cultural accounts that shaped the lives of Americans during this period.
A source title list provided by Readex is available in Appendix A.
The breadth of content is one of the key strengths of the Readex collection. Comparing the collection with the other major online sources of black newspapers—ProQuest’s historical Black Newspapers, Accessible Archives’ African American Newspapers, and the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America—Readex appears to offer the largest spread of titles in any one product, despite some overlap with the other databases.
Readex’s African American Newspapers, 1827-1998 reportedly contains more than 31,000 issues from 275 titles, covering 39 states in total. However, some states are only nominally covered, and more than half of the named states contain fewer than 500 issues (<1% of total content). In fact, nine states and the District of Columbia make up more than 85% of the total content (in descending order by size of coverage: Kansas, Illinois, Washington, D.C., Ohio, Minnesota, Georgia, Indiana, Wisconsin, Louisiana, and Arkansas). Kansas is the best represented state–the Kansas Historical Society was a key content source—making up nearly a third of all content.
A title/date comparison of the Readex product with other sources revealed an approximately 10% overlap of content from other electronic sources. In particular, several titles in the Readex product may also be found in the open access Chronicling America. Notable titles with overlap include The Appeal (Saint Paul, MN), Colored American (Washington, D.C.), and the Washington Bee (although in the case of this last title, Readex’s coverage of the title extends beyond that found in Chronicling America). Readex also duplicates two titles from Accessible Archives, namely Freedom's Journal (New York, NY), and Frederick Douglass' Paper (Rochester, NY).
The African American Newspapers, 1827-1998 series shares a common interface with Readex’s other news products (Hispanic American Newspapers 1808-1980; 20th-Century American Newspapers, Series 1 to 3, 1923; Early American Newspapers; and American Ethnic Newspapers). The platform offers a variety of advanced search features, such as :
- Searching one, all, or selected newspaper titles
- Limiting by specific date ranges
- Searching specific “article types” (News/Opinion, Legislative Acts or Legal Proceedings, Advertisements, Matrimony and Death Notices, etc.).
- Narrowing by place of publication
- Full-text search, or headline only
But the interface notes that “some documents have not been indexed by article types.” For best results, users may need to search without selecting such filters.
Direct from Publisher
|Subjects covered||African American history, slavery, segregation, civil rights movement, African American literature, drawings and photographs, music, sports, and science|
|Geographic coverage||Published in the United States|
|P||Digital collection launch date||February 2009|
|P||Completion date||April 2011|
|Browser compatibility||MSIE 6+, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera|
|Authentication options||IP recognition, username & password, library card, Shibboleth|
|P||Archiving solution – master files||400 dpi group 4 TIFF - bitonal or grayscale (dependent on source material)|
|P||Archiving solution – derivative files||400 dpi group 4 TIFF (bitonal)|
|Availability in web discovery tools||N|
|Open URL target||Y|
|Federated searching, z39.50||Y|
|Local host option||Y (with purchase of tapes, according to terms of license)|
|Full text displayed||N|
|Search full text||Y|
|Search within results||N|
|Limit results by dates and/or document types||Y|
|Display highlighted search terms||Y|
|Display snippet – search term in context||Y|
|Print full document||Y, up to 75 pages at one time (can do multiple downloads for long documents)|
|ILL||Y (special provision upon request following CONTU Guidelines)|
|Restrictions on use|
|Publisher / Distributor||Readex, a division of NewsBank|
|Address||5801 Pelican Bank Boulevard, Suite 600, Naples, Florida 34108|
|Related product(s)||Early American Newspapers, Series 1 to 9; Ethnic American Newspapers from the Balch Collection; American Newspaper Archives; AHN Select; multiple other Archive of Americana collections|
|CRL Profile of Publisher||url|
|P||Multiple year payments option||Y|
|P||List of purchasers available||Y, upon request|
|P||Sample license available||Y, upon request|
|P||MARC records purchase fee||NA|
|Pricing based on tiers?||Y|