Here are a few suggestions to help you frame your search based on tips from our expert searchers:
1.) Do I know exactly when my subject occurred? Do I know within a range of years?
This will help narrow down the number of search results. In the early newspapers, look for coverage of events a day or two after they happened (obviously, news wasn''t speedy as it is now).
2.) Would my subject have a different name than it would today?
Because there is no thesaurus in the database, customers will have to use the language of the times to find their subject. For example, a search on suffrage for the 19th century rather than feminism would be much more successful.
3.) How would the person be referred to in the article?
Women were often referred to by their married names (their husband''s last name), i.e., Mrs.Gilbert.
Would the article refer to Lincoln, Mr. Lincoln, President Lincoln or Abraham Lincoln? In older newspapers, there were few editorial standards of how people''s last names were used. Be prepared to try a combination of terms.
The key here is to stress that the database teaches valuable primary source skills. These are the same skills that any primary source based database will require of users.