Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Tuesday's Tip: Elephind.com

Thanks to a heads up from one of my Facebook friends, I learned of a great new search engine targeted specifically for searching in digital newspaper collections, called Elephind. In fact, it searches across 14 collections in four countries, with more to be added. These include such well known sites such as the Chronicling America (the U.S.'s Library of Congress) and Trove (National Library of Australia), as well as smaller collections like Door County Library in Wisconsin. The statistics are impressive: over 1,000 titles, nearly 1,100,000 issues, and over 45 million articles and items. The date ranges cover 5 March 1803 through 2 June 2011.

One can search across ALL the collections with both standard and advanced search features. The advanced search features allow one to search in both text and titles. I did a trial search for my children's unusual ancestral surname, Westaby, and came up with 65 hits; 56 from the U.S. and nine from Australia. Results can be sorted by relevance, newest or oldest publication date. Additionally, the results are listed by location, source (collection), publication (title) and decade in the left-hand margin, for ease of filtering. Using this site, I was able to find several obituaries and articles for the Westaby family that I did not yet have.

Veridian, the software behind the search engine was "signed specifically to organize large digitized newspaper collections and make them easily accessible to anyone online." Many of the collections listed at Elephind were originally created with Veridian. This allows the results to be "fast, accurate, and relevant." Interestingly enough, the site is hosted in the cloud, as are a number of the collections.

This search engine site is worthy of bookmarking and being added to one's genealogical toolbox!

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