Western Herald Archive Search Tips

Western Herald Archive Search Methods

Screenshot of 2001 edition of the Western Herald newspaper.

Front page of September 11, 2001 Western Herald

These are tips and tricks to help as you are in the Western Herald Archive database.

Basic Search

Type your search terms into the white search box and press enter to search. For basic searches, results listed first are the most likely to be relevant to the search. Results higher on the list contain exact matches to search terms.

Historical vocabulary:  Historical vocabulary refers to things, places, events or other words that were commonly used by the people living in those times. Some of the words we use today were never heard of 100 or even 50 years ago and words that were used back in the 1850s are no longer used today. For example: searching for “ War World I” retrieves  results after 1960s. The search phrase is a term used after World War I was completed, so there would be no mention of “War World I” in the newspaper. Think of other words and phrases that would be used to describe that event, like “war with Germany” or “Great War” or “World War” “WW” or “war.” Use the names of ethnic groups and institutions that were current when the materials you are searching were created. For example, the term “normal school” was used in the early twentieth century to describe schools for training teachers. Searching for the phrase may eliminate results containing the words “normal” and “school” in unrelated ways.

Historical Usage vs. Modern Usage Comparison Table

Historical Usage Modern Usage
Filling Station Gas station, service station
Negro African American
University Student Center Bernhard Center
Student Council, Associated
Student Government
Western Student Association
Western State Normal School Western Michigan University

Diversify search terms: Any two words can be used in the same search box, separated by a comma. This can be particularly useful when a search term might have gone by various names. For instance  factory, mill, business searches for all instances of words “mill” and “factory” and “business”.

Phrase Search: enter the words such as places names, people names, street names or specific phrases (i.e. death notices) in the order they are most likely to occur and enclose in quotations. This type of search can also be helpful in narrowing results

Your searchers will yield better results if you keep the following points in mind:

  • Common words such as AND, NOT, OR are ignored by the search engine.
  • Cases of letters are ignored. For example, “Western Student Association” and “western student association” are treated the same.
  • Truncation (agricultur*), wild cards (wom?n), and proximity (football N5 teams) searches  are ignored. For example, typing in agricultur* finds all “agricultur” terms.
  • All pages are digital scanned from microfilm and processed for full-text searching through a process called Optical Character Recognition (OCR). This text is left uncorrected. Search strategies may take this into consideration (i.e. search for shorter words and phrases when possible in order to maximize the number of search results returned).   
  • Because the pages are scanned from microfilm and the text is uncorrected, if a name or word is commonly misspelled, searching the common misspelling may also be a good search strategy. For example, when searching for information on the “Seibert Administration Building” you may wish to search for “Siebert Administration Building” which is a common misspelling.

Advanced Search

Click on the magnifying glass on upper right corner for more ways to limit your search and exclude results that are irrelevant to your search from the very beginning.

Limited by year/ month

Too many results – if a search generates too many results, try using more specific terms and/or limiting a specific year or month.

Too few results – if a search generates too few results, try alternate terms or broader subjects and relax limited criteria (date ranges).

Opening and Saving Pages

Clicking on the page opens it for viewing.  You may enlarge the page by clicking on the + key or reduce it by clicking on the – key.  Auto fit make the page larger. 

The easiest way to view a page is to save it as pdf.   You may view it as a pdf by saving it.  Click on the floppy disk icon which is on the upper left corner of the screen next to the home key.  You may scroll down save options and save files as pdf, tif, jpg, gif, or png.

Printing Pages

You may print pages by clicking on the print symbol in the upper hand corner.  Printing requires you to open the page as a pdf.

Emailing Pages

You may email pages to your personal email.  Emailing requires you to open the page as a pdf and save it as a pdf.

Returning Home

Click on the home key which is in the upper left corner of the screen.

Access the Western Herald archive