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Library Instruction: A Date in History

and how to research the day you were born

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This guide will help you research any date (including the date you were born) in modern history, and some older dates.
Newspapers and Magazines | Books and Almanacs | Web Sites


Newspapers and Magazines

Newspapers and popular magazines are a quick way to skim headlines for a particular date. This can be done by selecting various titles and going to the date and flipping pages (or looking at microfiche). If flipping pages in a newspaper remember to look at the date after as well as the exact date being searched. Some newspapers available at Middleton Library are: (for specific dates covered check the Online Catalog)

  • New York Times Microfilm 27
  • Los Angeles Times Microfilm 4493
  • Times Picayune Microfilm 138, (also known as Times Picayune, The States Item)
  • The Advocate Microfilm 77, (also called The Baton Rouge Advocate or The Morning Advocate)

If a certain newspaper is needed the Online Catalog should be checked to see if it is available. If it is a Louisiana paper check the Louisiana Newspaper Project for further information.

These newspapers and many others are available through some of the libraries general databases as well. Most only provide full text for recent years, however citations and some abstracts can be found as far back as the late 1970's in some cases. Though these are easier to search by topic, try an advanced search or a guided search to search by newspaper title or date.

Major headlines from a week or a month will also appear in popular news magazines such as Time or US News and World Report. Some of these are available through the databases listed above, but here is a list of some that are available in Middleton Library: (for specific dates covered check the Online Catalog)

  • Time Magazine AP 2 .T37 and Microfiche 1712
  • U.S. News and World Report JK 1 .U65 and Microfiche 1713
  • Newsweek AP 2 .N6772 and Microfiche 1711
  • Life AP 2 .L547
  • Harper's Magazine AP 2 .H3 and Microfiche 1730

Once major events, or even some not so major events, have been identified other sources can be used to find further information on the topics found as well as others.

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Books and Almanacs

Almanacs, encyclopedias, and other similar items will give general information on an event. To use almanacs and encyclopedias look under the subject such as Space, other items can be used different ways. For a number of general encyclopedias go to Reference Table 2, for other materials the following list gives the location and tips on use.

  • World Almanac and Book of Facts: AY 67 .N5 W7
    The current edition of this title can be found at the reference desk, older years can be found at AY 67 .N5 W7 on the second floor.
  • Time Almanac: AY 64 .I55
    The current edition of this title can be found on the shelves behind the reference desk, older years can be found at AY 64 .I55 on the second floor.
  • Whitaker's Almanack: AY 754 .W5
    The current edition of this title can be found on the shelves behind the reference desk, older years can be found at AY 754 .W5 on the second floor.
  • Louisiana Almanac: AY 186 .N5 L68
    This almanac has information on Louisiana specifically. The current edition can be found at the reference desk, and older editions can be found at AY 186 .N5 L68 on the second floor. Unlike the previously listed almanacs, this is not published annually.
  • Day by Day Series: D 848
    The Day by Day series covers the 1950's through the 1980's. Major events and news stories are listed in chronological order. These items are available in Middleton Library Reference at D 848.
  • Keesings Record of World Events: D 410 K4
    Keesings is organized by week. This means that if the date being sought is May 18, 1977 then you would look under the entries for the weeks of May 14 and May 21, 1977. This item is valuable for international events. It is available from the 1930's to the present at D 410 K4 in Reference.
  • Facts on File: D 410 .F3
    Similarly this is organized by week. It has listing and explanations of interesting facts for that week. It can be found in Middleton Library Reference at D 410 .F3.
  • Editorials on File: D 839 .E3
    These collect editorial cartoons and articles from newspapers around the world on current topics. The whole text of the individual pieces is available and a completed year has an index after the December issue. This title is only available back to 1981, but it is published monthly, and can provide viewpoints not yet explored. The item is in reference at D 839 .E3.
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Web Sites

There are many websites out there that will tell you what happened on today in history. These listings may or may not have the year you are looking for, but they are a quick way to get some facts that can be researched further using the sources listed above, or others. This list is not an exhaustive list, but these are all reputable and reliable sources.

This Day In History Also try Any Day in History by Scope Systems

 

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