02 October 2009

French-Canadian Newspapers: An Essential Historical Source (1808-1919)

Celebrate the arrival of some digitized newspapers from LAC. There's not much Anglo-Celtic about them, but I wanted to acknowledge that LAC has made an effort.

The contents are selected French-language newspapers from across Canada, in a digitized fully-searchable format. These newspapers form the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) collection of first, final and special editions of French-Canadian newspapers.

That means that mostly there are no long runs of papers, just one or two issues. The exceptions are:

Le Courrier du Canada. Québec, QC (312 issues).
L'Évangéline. Weymouth Bridge, NS (80 issues).
L'Évangéline. Weymouth, NS (80 issues).
Le Libéral. Québec, QC (25 issues).
La Gazette d'Ottawa. Ottawa, ON (224 issues).

All the papers I examined were four pages, so there is a bit over 4,000 pages in the collection, the equivalent of four years of a six day a week four page daily paper.

You can search the whole collection together, or select on a geographical or temporal basis. The search results show as a list of issues in which there are hits. Select one and display a page. It come up as a pdf, then search the pdf for the target word which will be highlighted in the text.

That's a bit of a clumsy search procedure, but it does seem effective.

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