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Friday, September 16, 2011

Google News Archives & Dear Abby.

It's a beautiful, sunny Friday afternoon here in Jackson, and while the reference desk phone keeps ringing and people keep asking interesting questions (what is the mortality rate in Coahoma county for emphysema? for example), between calls I find myself drifting back into something I find highly entertaining.

First off, did you know that many newspapers are available digitally (and free) through Google News? What's most interesting for me is the Archives category. From there, you can search for older articles from a variety of newspapers and read the text for free.

This week as I was doing some research, I was looking on microfilm for some information. Now, searching microfilm is not always fun. (Do it long enough, and you might need some Dramamine.) What I like to do as I'm searching a newspaper is stop by and enjoy the scenery: I read the funnies, and I look at the movie listings, but my favorite thing is to read the advice columns.

One of the Dear Abbys I read from the 60s Clarion-Ledger I was searching was about a woman whose husband hasn't bathed since their son's wedding...THREE YEARS AGO!

In the 60s and 70s, Dear Abby and Ann Landers were almost nothing like what they are now. Besides the infrequent bather, many, many women wrote in to complain about their husbands' chest hair -- having too much, too little, whatever. Abby's and Ann's responses are also very unhelpful, which adds to my amusement.

While I can't sit around at the microfilm reader and continue to read hilarious letters all day, I CAN, when I have a minute, "refine my search skills" and "practice utilizing resources that are available to me" by doing a little Dear Abby/Google News Archives searching.

To search yourself and see what I mean, go to Google and click on News. Enter "dear abby" and any word at all. You may not get any results, but on the lefthand side, choose Archives. And let the fun begin! I tried "dear abby" and hamburger as my search, and got this article about a poor girl whose boyfriend is so cheap he only buys her hamburgers. And another girl whose boyfriend always gets ONIONS on his hamburger, which makes parting at the end of their dates awkward!

I find these letters so entertaining. However, I should point out that I hear you can also use Google News Archives to find real information as well.

Let us know if you find anything good in your searching!

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