Frequently Asked Questions
Account and Billing Questions & Other Questions
How do I set up an account? What are my options?
Where can I view my account information?
After logging in, you will see a link "Account Info" in the top-right portion of the screen. Click that link to be presented with a list of account management options.
After I have set up my account, how am I billed?
For your convenience, monthly and annual subscriptions will automatically renew at the end of each billing period. Billing will appear on your credit card. If the credit card you use is no longer valid, we will notify you for updated billing information.
How do I cancel my membership?
Monthly memberships may be canceled online from your Account Info page. To cancel your annual membership, you can also contact customer support or call (800) 896-5587 Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
How do I renew my membership?
Monthly and annual memberships renew automatically.
I need to update my credit card, address, or other account information.
After logging in, you will see a link "Account Info" in the top-right portion of the screen. Clicking that link presents a list of account management options.
My user name and password do not work. What should I do?
Make sure that you are entering the same user name you used when you registered for your account. You chose your own password when you registered, and verified it by typing it twice. When entering your password, make sure your "Caps Lock" key is not on. User names and passwords are "case sensitive."
If you are still refused access and have checked the above, please contact customer support.
I have forgotten my user name.
If you have forgotten what user name you chose when you first registered, please contact customer support.
I have forgotten my password.
Click on the "Login" tab at the top. Then click the link "Forgot your password?" You will be prompted to enter your email address. We will email you the "password hint" you entered when you registered. If that does not help you, please contact customer support.
Can my library, business or institution share one account?
Why do historical newspapers matter?
Throughout our nation’s history, newspapers have chronicled the American experience and been our primary source of information. They provide extensive local and national coverage of American culture, politics and society with a range of offerings: detailed news articles, eyewitness reporting, editorial perspectives, letters to the editor, speeches, official notices, advertisements, political cartoons, illustrations, photographs, shipping news, sports stories, statistics, weather reports, etc. With our searchable newspaper collection at your fingertips you can explore centuries of American history, culture and daily life.
Filled with valuable records, facts, statistics, analysis, references, quotations, lists and much more, newspapers from across the country reflect different experiences, perspectives and bodies of knowledge. Newspapers provide essential background information and details on who, what, why, when and where. Also, local newspapers from communities directly affected by a particular issue, trend or event often provide the most authoritative coverage, long before and after national or international publications, which may offer valuable “big-picture” analysis.
Our wide-ranging collection provides a variety of perspectives on issues to help you understand opposing viewpoints and draw your own conclusions. The news articles enable you to follow an issue over a period of time and have background information to help understand today’s issues.
With our digitized images you can see these newspaper articles exactly as they appeared in print, exploring at your own pace, pursuing your own interests.
What is the significance of “local coverage”?
Newspaper collections commonly satisfy users’ need for grassroots coverage, including articles on topics of local interest, coverage of area politics and legislation, events calendars and other information not available from any other source. This includes, for instance, a write-up of a high school football game, legal notices, public announcements, popular recipes, letters to the editor and records of births, marriages and deaths. Of all local media and news sources, newspapers offer the most extensive, up-to-date record of emerging and ongoing local issues, personalities and stories of interest.
Why are some newspaper articles easier to read than others?
Our newspaper collection was created from microfilm using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology to digitize the content. Each page is produced in a manner that provides the highest quality possible image from the microfilm. This includes de-skewing and cropping every page image.
As you are searching, keep in mind that newspapers are among the most difficult types of content to digitize because of the wide variety of constantly changing type faces, font sizes, ink quality, article format and more. The older the newspaper, the more challenging this process becomes.
OCR works by recognizing shapes on a white background, and by matching those shapes with known letter shapes that are stored in the computer’s memory. In some cases, especially in the case of old newspapers, the letters “bleed” into each other, making the shapes unrecognizable or mistakenly interpreted as other letters by the computer. Any problems on the page, such as inkblots, speckles, poor type quality, fading, folds, wrinkles, tears or discoloration of the original paper page, can interfere with the OCR process. When the computer cannot recognize or misinterprets some of the letter shapes on the page this can result in false hits for the researcher.
A few of the most commonly misinterpreted characters are a, o, e, r, i, and n. Researchers can often minimize the problems caused by these misinterpreted characters in OCR databases by using wildcard searches. Wildcard searches enable users to allow for unlikely variations in spelling that might be caused by the OCR process. For our search engine, a single-character wildcard is a question mark and a multi-character (allow for up to 5 characters) wildcard is an asterisk.
For example, a search that included the term majesty might yield a broader result if you use wildcards for the most commonly misinterpreted characters, as in this example: m?j?sty. You might even want to try something like this: m?j?sty or m?j?fty, since many of the older newspapers used the old-fashioned elongated s character, which can sometimes be interpreted as an f. You can also use the multi-character wildcard to account for variations in spelling and possible misinterpretation of certain characters. For example, you search for St*nbock, instead of limiting your results to Steinbock.