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Life and other sweet news/history archives

This week, Google Books announced that they were hosting Life Magazine’s online archive, nearly 1900 scanned issues of rich print and photographic content, ranging from 1936 to 1972.

This announcement (combined with dwindling budgets everywhere) inspired me to review some of my other favorite free online news/history–mostly magazine-type–archives.

First, please know that I am listing some of my own personal favorites, you’ll want to check out Wikipedia’s list of online magazine archives, the Magazine Directory, the MagazineBoy, and AllYouCanRead to find links to additonal online news sources that meet your own students’ needs.  

The Time Magazine Archive, searchable by keyword, date, cover categories, and top collections reaches way back to 1923.

Newsweek, has a shorter reach (back to 1990), but is nevertheless a very useful resource for current history. Check out its Newsweekopedia for content gathered by hot topics.

The New York Times (I link students to the Topics page) requires a free login and offers several time periods to search.  Content is easily available from 1981 forward.  An older archive, from 1851 to 1980, returns a mix of free and premium content. 

The Directory of Open Access Journals is for more scholarly or more specific needs–your students involved in senior projects, your faculty involved in graduate work and research.

The site’s description:

This service covers free, full text, quality controlled scientific and scholarly journals. We aim to cover all subjects and languages. There are now 4359 journals in the directory. Currently 1660 journals are searchable at article level. As of today 315029 articles are included in the DOAJ service.

The National Geographic Publication index is not fulltext. It functions as an index to our huge print archive in the stacks and it often forces us to dust off those tired yellow issues.

Online index to publications

American Heritage Magazine is used heavily by our AP History classes.  The print archive has been made far more accessible with an online index. What is not available fulltext on the site (and so much is), is available in our stacks.


I am deeply in love with Google’s NewsTimeline for its visual timeline access to a variety of news sources which include Time, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and much more.

I am also in love with the way the Washington Post’s TimeSpace widgets pull news and images from a variety of sources to dynamically report the news of the world, sports, entertainment, and more.

TimeSpace: World

TimeSpace:Presidential Travels
Navigate articles, photos, video and commentary from around the globe.

TimeSpace: Sports

TimeSpace:Presidential Travels
Navigate articles, photos and video about sports from around the world.

TimeSpace: Entertainment

TimeSpace:Presidential Travels
See thousands of photos and articles about celebrities.

More TimeSpace Projects:

Please add your own favorite free archives in Comments!

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


  1. Fran Bullington says:

    As always,Joyce, thanks for the great links. Your research helps to make my life easier 🙂

  2. Patty McClune says:

    Life (along with others grouped on Google Books) and Time are my favs…but good to know about all. Librarians compiling a site with periodical links may want to consider adding their local historical society. Our county site is using LSTA funds to digitize their history journal and area town newspapers. Those are a good soure for local history projects.

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