Historic Paw Paw newspapers now available online

Martha Deming Maytnier, Local History Librarian, Paw Paw District Library

    On April 24, 2020, Paw Paw District Library added a link on the library homepage to Paw Paw newspapers available online through a database called Digi News, (Digital Michigan News-papers), published by Clarke Historic Library at Central Michigan University.
    As almost anyone knows, searching online for information can be frustrating and time consuming.  A major frustration for users can be the search “jargon” used by libraries.  
    First of all, a “database” is a collection of related information. In this case the information is limited to Michigan Newspapers. A database is one kind of information that is available through the World Wide Web (www).  
    Most users are accustomed to using Google to find information on the World Wide Web.  Google is a “search engine”.  A search engine is an algorithm that looks for information based on the terms/topics/“keywords” typed in the “search box”.  
    The World Wide Web has many different kinds of information sources.  It is not limited to databases.  A search is only as successful as the terms/topics/“keywords” entered into the “search box”.  If a search does not return the information a user expects, it is because the world of information does not think of your terms/topics/“keywords” in the same way that you do.  
    When a user relies on entering “keywords” in a “search box”, the “search engine” looks for those term(s) anywhere with the “full-text” of the information source. This is possible because the information has been “OCR’d”.  A technology called Optical Character Recognition scans the information source and makes the information searchable by each separate term.  That is why if a user enters Michigan Newspapers in the Google search box, a search will return: 1) anything that has the term Michigan newspapers together, or 2) anything that mentions either Michigan or newspapers.  
    In addition to the familiar “keyword search box” on the homepage for Digital Michigan Newspapers, there are several other ways to help a user find the information they are looking for.
    The banner on the homepage for Digi News, has “hyper-links” to files or sub-sets of the information contained in the database.  These hyper-links are: Title, Date, Counties, Tags and Help.
    Title allows a user to find a newspaper title in an alphabetic list.  Dates allows a user to find a specific date by year or month.  Counties allows a user to search for newspapers within a specific county.  Tags are assigned to a specific piece of information.  If the information you are looking for has been assigned a tag, for example a personal name Gremps, Peter, a user would be able to go directly to any information about Gremps, Peter.  Help gives you examples of ways to think about searching.
    A simple addition to a “keyword” search would be to “limit” your search to a search “string” by using quotation marks to force the search engine to look for information with that “string”, and not look for each “keyword” word by word.  An example would be “Paw Paw Public Library”.  If these terms were not enclosed by quotation marks, the search would return any article that mentions Paw Paw or district or library.
    A user can also use what is known as “Boolean” search strategy.  Boolean search uses “operators” AND, OR, NOT to “limit” searches to relevant information.
    For example, Paw Paw Public Library became a district library in 1986.  If a user only looked for “Paw Paw Public Library”, they would miss any information about “Paw Paw District Library”.  A search “string” that contains “Paw Paw Public Library AND Paw Paw District Library” would find information on both.
    An example of using “OR” would be if a user wanted information about words or concepts that are synonymous.  A search “string” that uses “challenges OR barriers OR weaknesses”, would find information about any and all concepts.
    A user would use “NOT” to narrow a search.  An example would be if a user is looking for information about student performances, but is not interested in musical performances. The search “string” would be “student AND performance NOT musical”.
    Other helpful hints for searching Digi News are; for a “keyword” search using the “search box” on the homepage of Digi News:
    •results will show each term highlighted in yellow.  
    •above a “search results” page, there is a link to download each document into a PDF.  
    •in the upper right-hand corner of a “search results” page there is another “search box” that allows a user to search within each article/document.  
    •finally, on the left-hand side of each “search result” page, there are “facets”.  Facets allow a user to narrow a search, in this case to publication, decade, county, and word count.  

The Courier-Leader & Paw Paw Flashes

The Courier-Leader & Paw Paw Flashes
32280 E. Red Arrow Hwy. • P.O. Box 129
Paw Paw, MI 49079
(269) 657-5080

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