Teesdale Mercury Archive

Information for Teachers.

The Teesdale Mercury Archive is a valuable source of information for both teachers preparing lessons and topics across the curriculum and for pupil and student research.

Student Searches – Tips

Younger students may find it difficult to access the searches as the search terms that they use may be too broad and they will bring up a daunting number of results or no results at all. On the TM Archive drop down menu, use the Advanced Search option and search for “This exact wording or phrase” and search in a limited range of years for the best results. For example, searching for “John Bowes Museum” between the years 1890 and 1900 brings up 11 results which is a manageable set of results to search.

Once the results have appeared, they may appear quite difficult to interpret particularly for younger students. The search term appears in bold in the results but the sentences in which it is set can appear to be “gobbledygook”. This is because the “reader” which does the search can have difficulty with interpreting the lettering and so “guesses” at individual letters and frequently produces nonsense words. It is possible to guess the original word from the context. The “reader” also frequently mixes upper and lower case letters and inserts spaces into words which can also be challenging to read. In some cases the “reader” has not recognised that the typing is in columns and it reads across more than one column which creates nonsense sentences.
If students are encouraged to see these difficulties as a decoding challenge and also to just have a try at looking at a promising looking result. It is much easier to read the original document as the human eye and brain is a better “reader” than the computer.

Once a result has been selected, look at “Preview”. This brings up a list of instances of the search term on that page in a list on the left hand side of the screen with the actual page displayed on the right. There is an option on the bottom left to choose “Less Options” in the results as sometimes there can be tens of results listed on one page. Select one of the results to look at.

On the page itself, the result appears highlighted and by clicking over the highlighted area one or more times the result is enlarged and can be read.

To insert a selection from the newspaper into a document

To select and print a small section of the text in a document is possible. It is best to do it as a “snapshot” of the original page. If it is just taken as text then the same problems arise with the “reader” interpreting old print as happen in the search results. The human brain and eye read old newspaper text much more efficiently.

  1. Save” the newspaper page as a PDF file by clicking on the Save button.
  2. Open the saved document and zoom in on the relevant part of the text.
  3. Go to “Edit” on the Toolbar.
  4. Select “Snapshot”.
  5. Use the Snapshot tool to select the relevant section of newspaper by holding and dragging with the left mouse button.
  6. On release, a dialogue box will appear saying that the selection has been copied. This selection can then be pasted into a document by right clicking on a document and selecting “Paste
  7. By right clicking over the selection in the document and selecting “Text Wrapping” and then “Tight”, the selected text can be moved freely around the page.
  8. It is better to “snapshot” a reasonable sized text to read rather than drag the copied snapshot to an appropriate size as the text becomes blurred as it is enlarged in a document.