Recently, I presented at the Australian Law Librarians Association conference on how Trove's Digitised newspapers and more zone could be used for legal research. Although this post is focussed on how legal researchers can benefit from Trove, other users may find some of these hints and tips useful.
One of the most important tips that I have for use of Trove newspapers is that there is a lot of information contained in these newspapers that you may not expect to find. In terms of legal research, historic newspapers contain a lot of information that is now published by the legal publishers. This information includes:
- Proclamations - http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article627357
- Responses to legislation - http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5849574
- Detailed case reports - http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2200721
- Source documents for cases - http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article3712591
- Notices of land grants - http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article59677883
- Probate notices - http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article62857845 (in advertising)
- Other legal notices - http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article7435562 (in advertising)
This is just a short list of the most common types of legal resources that can be found in historic newspapers, and there are likely to be many more pieces of information that can be drawn from historic newspapers that are of use to the legal researcher.
When searching newspapers, I have a simple rule that I follow when seeking specific information, and that is to start with a broad search - often just putting my search terms into the simple search box - then narrow the search using the options provided in Trove, even when I have an expectation that the information will appear in specific newspaper. The main reason for doing this is that not every newspaper is included in Trove, so the specific edition of a newspaper that includes the information you are seeking may not be in Trove, and other newspaper may have repeated the information. For example, this search finds information that is copied from the Argus, however there is no search result for the Argus. This lack of a search result is most likely because the Argus in Trove has been digitised from the microfilm of the Sydney edition, and is also missing some pages and issues, and the relevant edition of the Argus is not included in Trove. Despite this, it is likely that most of the documents are repeated across these four articles.
To be continued...