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About The Olympian and Historic Clippings Index

What is an index?

What does The Olympian and Historic Clippings Index include?

How do I use this index?

I found an article I wanted on Google, but when I clicked to the Index I couldn't find it.

Requesting articles

How can I find out more?


What is an index?

An index is a way to find articles on a particular topic when keyword searching the full text is not possible. The Washington State Library does not have the ability to keyword search all Washington newspapers, or even most Washington newspapers at this point (though our digitization efforts are making headway in this area). Until that time arrives, an index can be used to guide searchers to articles that appeared in The Olympian, and in our Clippings files. This index consists of some basic metadata about the articles in the index - namely the article title, date of publication, page, subject, and abstract. This metadata contains enough information to allow you to 1) identify whether the complete article might of interest and 2) locate the complete article in print, on microfilm, or online.


What does the Olympian and Historic Clippings Index include?

The bulk of this index includes citations to newspaper articles appearing in The Olympian newspaper, from Olympia, Washington from 1993-2009. The citations were entered into the index by a professional indexer who determined which articles in the daily paper should be included. Newspaper stories were indexed only if they had a Pacific Northwest, Washington state, or local focus.

Articles on the following subjects are included in the index:

  • Politics and government
  • Business and industry
  • Education
  • Associations, organizations, and community task force news
  • Crime
  • Sports (features and biographical stories only)
  • Medicine, science, and research
  • Religion and churches
  • Natural resource issues including geology, wildlife, and habitat
  • Prominent or notorious individuals
  • Traffic accidents


Articles on the following subjects are NOT included in the index:

  • Calendar, event, or group meeting announcements
  • Birth, death, engagement, and wedding announcements (obituaries are included)
  • Legal notices
  • Police blotter
  • Classified ads
  • Advertisements
  • Cooking stories
  • Comics
  • Puzzles
  • Nationally created features such as horoscopes
  • Stock reports
  • TV schedules
  • Entertainment schedules
  • Sports scores
  • Nationally syndicated columns and wire stories unless they include Washington


In addition to the daily indexing of The Olympian, indexers also included occasional citations to other Washington-based publications from 1993 to approximately 2004. Articles from the following publications were not added to the index in any consistent manner:


Finally, The Olympian and Historic Clippings Index contains the citations for a growing number of articles found in our historic clippings collection. The Washington State Library subscribed to a newspaper clipping service for many years, in addition to staff librarians saving noteworthy articles they found themselves. These articles date primarily from the 1940s to the 1980s and were cut out of the newspaper, given a handwritten citation at the top or bottom of the article, and stored in file folders arranged by subject in large archival boxes. These clippings are in a state of decay and the space given to box storage is significant. As time allows, our librarians will be entering citations to these clippings into the index so that they can be found online. As clippings are added to the index, the physical items will be discarded.

As of June 2018 over 180,000 citations are present in The Olympian and Historic Clippings Index.


How do I use this index?

Enter your search terms in the Keywords/Subject and press the "Search" button to retrieve results. If you know the exact date or year that the article appeared, you can enter that information into the appropriate fields to limit the number of results you retrieve. If you retrieve no results, pare your search down to the bare minimum words - for example just a last name and a year.

From the Results screen, you may also browse to the related subjects. By clicking on the phrases appearing under "Subject(s)", you will be taken to a list of all the articles indexed with that same subject heading, much like a hashtag. The subjects phrases were selected by the indexer when the article was indexed and are also a good way to discover keywords or search terms you may not have thought of.

The Abstract field lists names of authors, involved parties, and other article details. This information is not available for browsing and can only be found through a keyword search.


I found an article I wanted on Google, but when I clicked to the Index I couldn't find it.

Because of search engine optimization, you may see an article from the Index previewed in your Google search results that is difficult to find once you reach the Index page. It is best to redo your search using the Index's search boxes. This should retrieve the original article, as well as a more accurate list of results than the Google search that brought you to the Index originally.


Requesting Articles

Click on the green "Request this article" button to ask that a copy of the article be made from the State Library's newspapers on microfilm and sent to you by email. You will be taken to our Ask a Librarian page where you can fill in the fields needed to make your request. Although our staff makes every effort to get you your requested material promptly, it may take several business days to receive the article you're requesting. If you have an immediate need, please add that to your article request following the article's citation in the Question section of the form.

Some articles may be marked as "Not Available" in the index. This means that we are unable to provide copies of these articles. Articles can be marked as "Not Available" for several reasons, but the most likely are: 1) there is a problem with the citation that we were unable to correct, and our staff cannot find the article on the microfilm or 2) that day's paper did not make it on to the preservation microfilm and we do not have any print editions of the paper on hand. While the Olympian Index was created from physical copies of The Olympian newspaper, those were not the same copies that were used to create the microfilm. Periodically, the microfilm is missing an issue that appears in the Index. Unavailable articles are not deleted from the Index so as to keep some kind of record of the content of that day's paper, which is now most likely permanently lost.


How can I find out more?

Additional information about The Olympian and Historical Clippings Index, including optimizing your search strategies or troubleshooting problems with the Index, can be obtained by speaking with the staff of the Washington State Library through our Ask a Librarian service.

Return to the Olympian and Historic Clippings Index