Are you looking for an article from the Coburg Leader in 2010? Want the week’s top stories read out to you while you prep dinner? How can you search for articles about affordable housing across many trusted Australian news sources all at once? For all these answers and more, read on for today’s online collection spotlight.

State Library Victoria members can access hundreds of databases from home (if your home is in Victoria). That’s millions of articles, magazines, archives, ebooks, videos, songs, audiobooks and more, available through the catalogue anytime. We’re taking a closer look at new and/or interesting databases as well as hidden gems from our collections. Read on for top picks and tips from Librarians.

Not a member yet? Sign up online first and reward your curiosity.

Today we’re looking at NewsBank’s Access Australia database.

Graphic image logo for the Access Australia database, by NewsBank, subtitled 'The largest collection of Australian news sources'.

What makes this database so great?

Use Access Australia to explore credible, vetted news sources from across Australia to stay informed on events, people and issues. This databases includes more than 650 influential Australian news sources from every state and territory covering the 1980s to the present day, and all are fully text searchable!

Easy searching

NewsBank has a simple search bar on the homepage that allows you to search across all news sources in the Access Australia collection. Search a name, event or keyword and press the Search button. Below, I have searched for “State Library Victoria” in quotation marks to search these words together, and further narrowed my search by adding the additional keyword Dome.

Screenshot of home page banner of NewsBank Access Australia database, with "State Library Victoria" Dome typed into search bar.
Using the basic search from the NewsBank Access Australia home page.

Select More Search Options to open an advanced search page, or try Date Search or Map Search. These options are located below the simple search bar.

Screenshot of the Map Search feature in Access Australia.
NewsBank’s Access Australia Map Search interface

Open the A-Z Source List to find a list of all included newspapers and search for a specific news source.

Screenshot of the NewsBank homepage banner, showing the location of the A-Z Source List link in the top left hand corner.
The A-Z Source List link

Below, I’ve searched for all newspapers published in Dandenong. You can see the coverage in the Dates column.

Screenshot of the A-Z Source List page in Access Australia, with the results for a search for 'Dandenong'.
The A-Z Source List page. Try searching for a newspaper name, location, type, or format.

For more help searching and reading articles in NewsBank’s Access Australia database, see their handy how-to video below:

Multiple formats and source types

Access Australia includes various types of news sources, not just newspapers! Search across magazines, journals, newswires like the AAP, even audio newscasts of some of your favourite ABC radio programs (links to audio will open in an external browser).

Newspapers come in either text-only or image formats. Image collections will be a full-page facsimile of the newspaper as it was published, and are perfect for checking photographs, family notices, sports results and advertisements.

Text collections will have articles only, and will not have accompanying images or formatting. Although not as visually appealing, the coverage of text collections is greater – often stretching back to the 1990s or earlier.

See The Age/Sunday Age Collection below:

Screenshot of the Age/Sunday Age Collection in NewsBank Access Australia. There are three sources listed.
Access Australia’s Age/Sunday Age collection.

Accessibility features

Reading articles in text format is great, as you can take advantage of some of NewsBank’s accessibility features.

Select the Text Size button in the top left-hand corner of a text-only article to increase the text size.

Screenshot of the menu bar across the top of a text-only article in NewsBank. Select the first button from the left to change the text size.
Find the Text Size button at the top of text-only articles.

Just below the byline you’ll find some more options for accessible reading. Press the green Play icon to the right of Read News Document to hear the article read aloud, or select the hamburger menu on the left to find additional settings, including text highlighting, reading speed, keyboard shortcuts, and page mask – where one or two lines of text are highlighted for you to focus your reading.

Screenshot of the accessible reading options available in text format articles on NewsBank. The hamburger menu has been expanded to show the full suite of options.
The accessible reading options available in NewsBank. Click Settings for even more options such as text higlighting.

Explore by topic

Not comfortable with advanced searches? NewsBank has done the work for you! Have a look through their suggested topics on the homepage, and click through to specially curated sub-topics. Below, I’ve chosen the Environmental Studies topic, and selected Affordable Energy.

A screenshot of the Access Australia database homepage with the Suggested Topics heading highlighted, and hen the Environmental Studies tile selected, opening a drop-down menu. Affordable Energy has been chosen from the list of options.

You can see on the results page that NewsBank has automatically constructed an Advanced Search of their Access Australia collection based on my area of interest, with 34 articles across a wide range of Australian news sources to choose from.

Screenshot of the results page of a search in Access Australia. An Advanced Search has been constructed at the top of the page.

Access Australia provides access to some of the most popular newspapers in Victoria and around the country, including major dailies and many regional and suburban papers too. Try filtering the source list by location keywords to see what’s available.

More to explore

Check out our latest databases on trial, and see a full list of all new and trial databases, by visiting our A-Z Databases page.

Explore our other current newspaper databases on our A-Z Databases page.

Sign up to Newsworthy – our popular webinar teaching how to navigate the Library’s extensive newspaper collection.

Read other newspaper-themed SLV blogs:

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