Several campaigns to digitize newspapers — Readex’s “American Historical Newspapers” available by subscription at research universities, or the free “Chronicling America” collection available at the Library of Congress — have the potential to revolutionize biographical research. Newspapers are often described as the “first draft of history,” and thanks to these new tools, biographers can tap them in ways that an earlier generation of scholars could only have dreamed of.
Above all, without a clear understanding of the sources you’re searching in the first place, it’s hard to harness the power of digital archives. Simply typing in a name is akin to using Google: you may turn up material, but unless you know how to fit it all together, it’s next to worthless.
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Hat Tip/Thanks: @Readex