Papers Past satisfaction survey 2019

Thank you to Melanie Lovell-Smith and Emerson Vandy for assistance with this blog about the Papers Past satisfaction survey in 2019.

Thank you for your feedback

This year’s Papers Past satisfaction survey provided us with a lot of very useful questions and comments, including some helpful ideas about improving the way the site works — thank you for the feedback.

Answers to common questions asked in the survey

We thought it might be useful to provide some answers to the most common questions we got, including how:

  • can I improve my search on Papers Past
  • do I get to my highlighted search term
  • can I increase the size of an image? 

Better ways of searching and other tips

The best source of search tips is the Help page, which we’ve updated. This explains how you can improve your search by excluding words and doing wildcard and proximity searches.

How can I jump straight to my highlighted search term in the articles I’ve found?

If you’ve done a search and found a long article result, you can skip to where your search term appears.

To do this, go to the ‘text’ tab and then use Ctrl-F/Command-F to look for the word and skip to it.

Papers Past newspaper article highlighting the 'text' option in the top left hand of the screen.Screenshot showing how to find the computer-generated text.

My article is missing some text, because of poor cropping. What can I do about this?

If it looks as if you are missing some text from your article, look at the page of the newspaper to see the article as it appears on the page. The zoning of articles is automated and not always accurate, so it can be helpful to look at the article in the page view.

Papers Past newspaper article highlighting the ‘page number’ option at the top of the page.Screenshot showing the ‘page number’ in the breadcrumb trail.

There are two ways to go to the page. You can click on the page number that appears in the breadcrumb trail above the article (highlighted in the image above) or, if you’ve been browsing the site, you can click on the ‘Back to page’ link (see the image below).

Back To Page Highlighted

We digitise newspapers from microfilm. Sometimes, the newspaper was still bound when it was filmed, and in those cases, part of the article text may not have been captured. You can see if this was the case by switching to the page view using the links back to the page mentioned above. If you see the text curving and disappearing like the example below, the newspaper was not flat when it was filmed. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do about this.

A newspaper with some of the text not showing because it isn't flat. Example of a newspaper that was filmed while bound in a volume.

How can I crop and print only part of a page?

There are lots of ways to do this. Here are a few basic approaches.

  • Press the ‘print screen’ key on your keyboard, then open any image editor and paste the image (Ctrl-V/Command-V). Use a select tool in the image editor to choose the part of the image you want and cut it (Ctrl-X/Command-X). Then paste the part of the image you've cut (Ctrl-V) wherever you need it, for example, into a document or email.
  • Click on ‘Save a copy’ at the top right of the page, then click on ‘PDF’. You can then select ‘Edit’ then ‘Take a snapshot’ to crop a portion of the page, then copy to Word and print.
  • You could also save a copy as an image file, by clicking on ‘Save a copy’ and choosing ‘High-resolution image’ rather than PDF. You can then open it using an image programme, such as Paint, and crop and print it from there. This will give you a higher quality image than the PDF.

How can I increase the size of the image?

There are a few ways of doing this.

  • In the page view, you can click on ‘Enlarge image’ on the top right. If you do this, and then want to move to the right-hand side of the page, you need to scroll to the bottom first. Once you reach the bottom of the page, you’ll see there's a scroll bar to move left and right. To reduce its size again, click on ‘Original size’.
  • You can increase the view on your browser. Be aware that if you magnify the screen a lot, at some stage it will trigger the mobile view, even if you are on a desktop device. The mobile view has a reduced number of features, so the search filters, for example, may disappear.
  • You could save and view the page as a PDF or an image file and increase the size of the page in your PDF viewer or image programme.

User text correction

Many users asked for the ability to correct the computer-generated (OCR) text ‘like Trove’. We are happy to announce that we are working on a pilot of this for the newspaper material. We are hoping to release this soon.

New titles or the extension of titles

We record every suggestion that people make for new titles or the extension of titles. We take these suggestions into account when we’re planning what to digitise.

We also recognise that there is a strong demand for more recent content on Papers Past. Over the years we have increased the date range of newspapers on Papers Past. When Papers Past was first launched back in 2007, it only delivered newspapers up to and including 1900. Over time this was pushed out to 1910 and then 1920.

The current scope of the newspaper section is up to 1950, and with the permission of the newspaper publishers, we now have newspapers such the Ashburton Guardian, the Bay of Plenty Beacon, the Gisborne Herald and Otago Daily Times online up to December 1950. We’re aiming to increase the number of titles that provide coverage up to this date.

At the same time, we’re starting to look at what we would need to do to extend the newspaper coverage beyond 1950. Copyright is the major issue here, and we haven’t yet started talking with publishers or other rights-holders about this. Without their kind permission, we’re unable to deliver more recent content.

Upcoming titles

We know that you’re interested in hearing about upcoming titles and that you’d also like to be able to easily find out what has been released over the last few years. To do this, we need to rethink the content that we display on Papers Past and decide where this information would best sit.

In the meantime, here’s a list of the titles we are planning to deliver in the next two newspaper releases.

In the first newspaper release we will include:

  • Franklin Times (1934-1945)
  • Manawatu Times (1929-1936)
  • Nelson Evening Mail (1931-1937)
  • Northern Advocate (1946-1949)
  • Timaru Herald (1921-1928)
  • Waihi Daily Telegraph (1942, 1945-1950)
  • Waikato Times (1929-1935)

In the second newspaper release we plan to include:

  • Gisborne Times (1901-1937)
  • Hokitika Guardian (1917-1940)
  • Opotiki News (1938-1950)
  • Saturday Advertiser (Jul 1875-1878)
  • Wanganui Chronicle (1860-1869)

Our next Magazines and Journals release will be online very soon and will be Forest and Bird magazine, 1924 to 1945.

If you have any questions about these tips or any further suggestions, please feel free to email us at paperspast@natlib.govt.nz or make a comment below.

By Tracy Powell

Tracy Powell is a Digitisation Advisor at the National Library of New Zealand, working on projects and programmes such as the digitisation of historic newspapers for Papers Past.

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