Wednesday, February 4, 2009

‘I never drink...


I can boast about my Hungarian heritage, I can even boast that Dracula himself (Bela Lugosi) ate at my great grandparent’s Hungarian restaurant, but what I can’t boast about are any articles published on my birthday in the New York Times.

Seems like a tenuous link at best to the topic of wine and the New York Times Historical Newspaper Database; however for me it was the beginning of a mystery that needed solving.

New York Time Historical Newspapers is a database the library subscribes to and is hosted by Pro Quest.

“Fully searchable text of the Times from 1851-2005. Find words anywhere in the text, including short items--like stock quotes, broadcast schedules, display and classified ads-- which have never before been indexed. Articles can be displayed in their page context and one can read through an issue page by page.”

The basic search screen includes limiting by publication date and can easily be expanded to the advanced search. When placing a basic search on ‘wine’ I receive 333,099 hits. To narrow it down I summon my Hungarian roots; ‘wine and Hungary or Hungarian’ receives 7,137 hits. I seem to be getting closer and I am truly entertained by the article Diet and Habits of the Hungarians from the Ocotber 14th 1851 edition. But this is more about me than Bella so I decide to browse the August 10th 1978 edition…no results?

Yes, infract there will be no results from August 2nd to November 5th of 1978…what?!

Trust me that it took a lot of looking and asking before I was convinced that it was not human error but in fact a discrepancy and I had to figure out what was amiss. Nothing on the info page mentions a gap in coverage, New York Times Archives (which requires $ for full articles) also mentions nothing about this gap. Flashing back to the seventies the Marriott Library has the New York Times on Microfilm. Our catalog record does not list a gap in publication so I head off to the microfilm

(tune in next week for the thrilling conclusion to “ I never drink, I whine!”)

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