FAQ

What is Wyoming Newspapers?
Wyoming Newspapers is a service of the Wyoming State Library to ensure the preservation of historic Wyoming newspapers. Making Wyoming's historic newspapers available to the world for education and historical research, including genealogy, is the cornerstone of Wyoming Newspaper.

What is included in the Wyoming Newspapers?
Wyoming Newspapers is a continual work-in-progress. It includes more than 340 historic newspapers with over 800,000 pages consisting mostly of Wyoming newspapers from 1849 through 1922. We have other newspapers, though not as many, ranging from 1923 through 1989. There are missing pages, issues, years, and titles that we are constantly on the lookout for. If you have any historic Wyoming newspapers, please contact us.

Contact:
Thomas Ivie
Research & Statistics Librarian
Wyoming State Library
2800 Central Ave.
Cheyenne, WY 82002
(307) 777-6330

Using Historical Newspapers
Historic newspapers can be a goldmine of information for those doing historical research of any kind, whether academics, students, genealogists, or for entertainment, they often contain information that is not available in any other source. Serving as the gateway to the past, historical newspapers help researchers learn about the events and perceptions that affected a community, state, and nation. In many cases, they served as the official record for a place. The small town newspapers provided a lot of personal information as well. Some of the valuable information you might find in historic newspapers can include advertisements, marriage, birth and death announcements, who attended events, land sales, businesses, church affiliations and activities, crimes, family stories, military service, obituaries that might list relatives, sporting events, taxation, fashion, agriculture advice, legends and outlaws of the West, and the list goes on.

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Searching Wyoming Newspapers

Browse the entire collection or search for newspapers from specified towns or counties, on certain dates, or by a specific title. The text is searchable.

General Search Tips

  • Searches are not case sensitive, so capitalization is unnecessary
  • All searches automatically retrieve both singular and plural forms of words
  • Use quotes to search for a specific Phrase or name
  • If you get large result sets, Narrow results using the "search within current results" checkbox
  • Use the main search box to search for keywords within the Full text of publications
  • Browse for publications by going to Browse
  • Customize your searching, sorting, and viewing options using Preferences

Exact Search
A primary query type used to find exact matches for query terms. The query terms are not stemmed or expanded in any way. Queries using Boolean logic are accepted. The default operator between query terms is AND; thus, a query for term1 term2 is logically equivalent to a query for term1 AND term2.

In the Exact Search type, a search for territorial will match ONLY the word territorial. Thus, a search for territorial legislature would find documents containing those two exact terms. Some of the results may coincidentally also contain stemmed versions of these terms, but those terms would not be considered matched terms, and would not be highlighted as such.

The Exact Search type provides a way to find documents with ONLY the desired terms. For example, to find all documents that contain the exact terms territorial legislature but do not also contain the exact terms territory legislative, use an Exact Search for territorial legislature -territory -legislative. Note: the order of the query terms does not matter in these examples.

Concepts Search
A primary query type that accepts plain English queries without Boolean Operators. Semantic expansion is automatically performed on all query words. For example, a search for the term territory could find documents containing the term district. Likewise, a search for the term cows could find documents containing the term cattle. Documents containing all of the original terms or the expanded terms will be returned in the results.

The Concept Search type does not recognize Boolean Operators (such as + - AND or OR). For example, a Concept Search for territory AND legislature could return results containing all of these words.

  • territory (or any expanded version of this term, such as district)
  • AND
  • legislature

In this case, the word AND is considered a search term, not a boolean operator.

Pattern Search
A primary query type that processes plain English queries, but tolerates spelling differences in either the body of the text or the queries. Pattern expansion is automatically performed on all query words to the level specified in the "Pattern Search, Similarity Setting" preference.

This type of search is helpful in retrieving terms or names with alternative spellings or common misspellings. For example, a pattern search for the term "secretery" will also search for alternative spellings, such as "secretary" or "secretaries".

Keyword (Boolean) Search (AND, OR, NOT)
Boolean operators allow you to construct queries using complex logic. Boolean operators only function in the Keyword Search and Exact Search types and must be written in UPPERCASE. When using Boolean operators in Keyword Search type, the terms are stemmed and expanded. For example, the query term territorial could be stemmed to the base term of territor and expanded to territory, territories, and territorial.

When using Boolean operators in Exact Search type, the terms are "as shown" in. For example, the query term territorial would consider only territorial a match, although the expanded terms may exist in result.

Boolean operators

Description

Syntax

AND

&&

Match terms on both sides of the operator. Example: term1 AND term2 both appear in the text.

term1 AND term2

term1 && term2

OR

Match one or both terms on either side of the operator. Example: either term1 or term2 appears in the text.

term1 OR term2

+

Term1 must be present in the result. where Word1 (Union) but not Word2 (Pacific) appears in the text.

+term1

NOT

-

Match term1, but do not match term2

term1 NOT term2

term1 -term2

(logical expression)

Treat the logical expression between the parentheses as one unit.

term1 NOT (term2 OR term3)

Wildcard Search
Wildcard characters allow you to search for multiple terms at once or to find words with unknown or incorrect spelling. Use wildcard characters (*, ?, [search expression], ^, -, <, >, ~) to substitute for the part of the word, name, or number that varies among the terms in the index.

Wildcard characters are best used with Exact Search type. Although they can be used with Concept Search or Keyword Search types, these searches may yield unexpected results due to the stemming and semantic expansion of the terms. Wildcard characters are ignored in the Pattern Search type.

Wildcards can be used in full text search or field entries, in multiple words, and even multiple times in one word. For the most relevant results, if you are looking for "unknown" information within a field, it is best to perform the wildcard search within that field. See examples:

Wildcards

Description

Example

Result

*

match anything or nothing

comput*

compute, computer, computers

?

match exactly one character

gr?y

gray, grey

^

match any character except the next character

/199[^7]/

1996, 1998, 199E

[ ]

Search expression: can include a hyphen to indicate a range of letters or numbers; will match only one character within the brackets

/199[1-5]/

1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995

<

search expression: the "less than" symbol (<) is used to express a lower value.

less than 2 months:
<[m]2
less than 20 days:
<[d]20

 

>

search expression: the "greater than" symbol (>) is used to express a higher value.

greater than 2 months:
>[m]2
greater than 20 days:
>[d]20

 

[* TO *]

search expression; range query.

[100 TO 200]
[100 TO *]
[NOW TO *]
[ape TO apple]

 

" "

phrase search; find terms in the order given.

"chief executive officer"

;

Grouped Term Search
A Grouped Term Search improves the search accuracy. It is a query (Pattern or Concept) in which terms related to a common concept are grouped together with parentheses in order. The words within the parentheses are expanded, matched, and ranked for relevance as a group, instead of as individual words.

Advanced Search Options
Customize your search by going to Advanced Search Options and checking on the box next to the fields you wish to search by. Sort your results list by the options you like, such as sorting by relevancy rank, number of hits, title, or publication date, etc Change the display of your results list to row, column, or thumbnail format under the Result List Display Format option. Save Changes to enable your new options.

Fielded Search
A query performed against the document metadata, it limits responses by allowing you to enter specific metadata fields (such as a full or partial title, collection, author, etc.). A metadata field search can be done against metadata only (one or more fields at a time) or in conjunction with a full-text search.

Filter Search
After you have performed a search, you can narrow your results using the Filter (which is the default) to click on any of the filtered returns.

Notes about Historical Newspapers
The majority of newspapers in this collection span the years 1849 through 1922. That span also represents changes in journalistic practice, society, and language that must be considered when searching. Some differences between the journalistic practices in early newspapers and those of modern newspapers include:

  • Early newspapers included many brief, 2-3 sentence articles; therefore, your search may retrieve many articles with little substantial content.
  • Early newspapers often mixed jokes and editorial content with articles.
  • Earlier newspapers seldom include the full length articles typical of modern newspapers; therefore, brief articles may be the only type you find on your topic.
  • Be prepared to find a mix of editorial commentary and factual news in the same article.
  • Be aware of various differences in language between the 19th century and today. Terms used in the past do not always have the same meaning currently; in some cases, usage has become archaic or obsolete. For example: transient, consumption, hornswoggle, Yanks.
  • These newspapers reflect the attitudes, beliefs, and perspectives of the times, and may stereotype individuals and groups or use terms that are now considered derogatory and offensive. For example: mammy, colored, Huns, savages.
  • Abbreviations were sometimes used, particularly for proper names (Jno, Thos, Chas).

Why am I not finding the keywords I entered?
Wyoming Newspapers is a full-text digital collection of hundreds of thousands of newspaper pages. The text in this collection was created by Optical Character Recognition (OCR), which creates searchable text from the newspaper images. OCR makes it possible to search large quantities of full-text pages. However, it is not completely 100% accurate. Things that can affect the quality of the OCR are fading, folds/creases, holes, tears, heavy/light ink, and smearing. Sometimes it might be necessary to try different search strategies and terms. If you know a specific date, try browsing those pages.

Why am I finding too many results with my search?
Using broad terms should be avoided if the search returns too many results. An example is a search for "Wyoming." It will retrieve many newspaper pages because the word Wyoming will appear several times per issue as well as in the masthead or title of many historic Wyoming newspapers. Try to narrow your search by limiting the fields, like dates, counties, cities and/or using Boolean operators.

Boolean searches will find the exact keywords entered in the Search For box. To narrow the results of a search, words can be combined with Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT, WITHIN, and ADJ) to retrieve relevant materials. To conduct more complex searches use Parentheses to combine sets of words and Boolean operators.

Boolean operators

Description

Syntax

AND

&&

Match terms on both sides of the operator. Example: term1 AND term2 both appear in the text.

term1 AND term2

term1 && term2

OR

Match one or both terms on either side of the operator. Example: either term1 or term2 appears in the text.

term1 OR term2

+

Term1 must be present in the result. where Word1 (Union) but not Word2 (Pacific) appears in the text.

+term1

NOT

-

Match term1, but do not match term2

term1 NOT term2

term1 -term2

(logical expression)

Treat the logical expression between the parentheses as one unit.

term1 NOT (term2 OR term3)

Other searching strategies can be found by clicking on the "Help with Searching" link.

Why am I finding too few results with my search?
The use of too narrow of a term or modern words that were not used at the time can affect your search. Also, sometimes spelling was not the best in the old newspapers. Try using synonyms, different spellings, wild card operators and the Boolean operator "or." Also try employing these types of searches:

Similar Concepts Search
Concept searches will find search words and phrases as well as related concepts. For example, in a concept search for the term "cow" the system will also search for related terms, for example, "cattle".

Pattern Search
Pattern searches will find both exact search terms and terms with similar spellings. This type of search is helpful in retrieving terms or names with alternative spellings or common misspellings. For example, a pattern search for the term "secretery" will also search for alternative spellings, such as "secretary" or "secretaries".

Wildcard Search
Use wildcard characters (*, ?, [search expression], _, @, #, \, ^ ) to substitute part of a word, name, or number, or to search for multiple terms. Wildcards can be used in Concept or Boolean mode, in keyword search or field entries, in multiple words, and even multiple times in one word. See examples:

Wildcards

Description

Example

Result

*

match anything or nothing

comput*

compute, computer, computers

?

match exactly one character

gr@y

gray, grey

^

match any character except the next character

/199[^7]/

1996, 1998, 199E

[ ]

search expression: can include a hyphen to indicate a range of letters or numbers; will match only one character within the brackets

/199[1-5]/

1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995

<

search expression: the "less than" symbol (<) is used to express a lower value.

less than 2 months:
<[m]2
less than 20 days:
<[d]20

 

>

search expression: the "greater than" symbol (>) is used to express a higher value.

greater than 2 months:
>[m]2
greater than 20 days:
>[d]20

 

[* TO *]

search expression; range query.

[100 TO 200]
[100 TO *]
[NOW TO *]
[ape TO apple]

 

" "

phrase search; find terms in the order given.

"chiefexecutive officer"

 

Other searching strategies can be found by clicking on the "Help with Searching" link.

Can I save a page?
Yes. When you have a newspaper page open, click on the "Save current page" image either above left of the PDF or on the Adobe Reader toolbar at the bottom of the PDF (depending on your Preferences settings). Alternatively, if you're viewing the newspaper page in a separate window (by way of clicking on the "Show document" image), click on the "Save a copy" icon.

Video Help at 3:05

Can I zoom in on text?
Yes. On the initial newspaper page image screen, there is a drop-down menu that says "Full." Click on the down arrow for choices. Or click on the plus sign "+" if using the Adobe Reader toolbar. Alternatively, if you are viewing the newspaper page in a separate window (by way of clicking on the "Show document" image), click on the "+" on the toolbar that appears at the bottom of the PDF when you scroll your mouse over it.

Video Help at 2:32

Can I print a page from Wyoming Newspapers?
There are a couple of ways to print a PDF. The simplest is to click on the print icon on the PDF toolbar. The second way to print a PDF is by clicking on the save current page image. Instead of saving the file, click on the option to open it and click OK. This will open the PDF in a separate window. Now, right click your mouse on the PDF. A list of options will pop up. Click on Print.

Video Help at 3:26

Why is some text difficult to read?
The same things that can affect the quality of OCR can make the newspaper pages difficult to read. Things like fading, folds/creases, holes, tears, heavy/light ink, and smearing. We digitize the best copy we can get. In some cases, no other copy exists. However, we're continuously on the lookout for better copies. If you come across any, please contact us.

Contact:
Thomas Ivie
Research & Statistics
Wyoming State Library
2800 Central Ave.
Cheyenne, WY 82002
(307) 777-6330

Are there copyright restrictions?
Yes and no. Wyoming Newspapers provides access to this collection in order to support research and education. Some materials in this collection may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. All newspapers published before January 1, 1923 are in the public domain and therefore have no restrictions on use. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. It is the user's responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or any other use restrictions when publishing or otherwise disseminating materials found in this collection.

Please give credit to Wyoming Newspapers
If publishing, quoting from, or linking to this collection, we request that you credit Wyoming Newspapers, Wyoming State Library, http://newspapers.wyo.gov.

Video: Copyright & Credit 1:12 seconds