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Quick Tips

First time users of the Digital Reel (DR) historic newspaper archive are advised to view the videos on the Data Set page for demos of basic functions.
MPL Data Set

DR supports two types of searching: indexed and full-text search. Full-text search is a powerful tool, but bear in mind that the application’s ability to discern text is limited by the quality of the scanned document. The oldest newspapers may have been in poor condition when they were originally filmed or the scanning (done 30 or more years ago) was less than ideal, or the film may have deteriorated. All of these conditions may allow text to be illegible to the application, although the human eye may still be able to read it. For best results it is a good practice to search using both methods.


From the Data Set select the newspaper title, then the year, then the specific issue you want to view. DR will open on the first page of that issue. To scroll through the issue, click “close frame” close the page view, and use the right and left arrows to move through the reel. You may click or hold down the arrow. When you hold the arrow down it will speed through the images and they will blur, but will snap back to a clear image when you release the arrow.


Enter the text you want to search with in the search box at the top of the page. Entering text on the Data Set page will search the full data set, entering the search term on a specific title will search only that title.


Most of the papers in the Data Set are viewed in comic mode. Scrolling is done with the right and left arrows. Example of scrolling papers digitized in comic mode.

A few papers are viewed in cine mode; scrolling is done using the mouse wheel to go up and down.

Example of scrolling papers digitized in cine mode.
California Star cine mode


On the page you want to view, use the zoom “+” key to enlarge, and hold and drag the right mouse key to navigate around the page.

Clicking Autofit will enlarge the page to the width of the current window, which is handy if what you want to see is at the top of the page. 

The easiest way to see the section you want is to go to thumb nail mode and then hold down the right mouse key and drag a rectangle around the section you want to view. When you release the key, the section will fill the frame. You can enhance, save, print or email just like a whole page.


There are two icons you can use to enhance the page or image. The icon with the graphic of a landscape will convert the image to grayscale, which provides a smoother look to the picture.

The picture below shows the other icon used for enhancement.

The last two items (brightness and contrast) are revealed when you click “Enhance for more options,” which is another way to change the image to gray scale mode. The advantage of this method is that you can adjust the brightness and contrast to improve readability or the way the image looks. For sections of papers that are very dark, sometimes reversing the polarity (changing the image to a negative) can make the text easier to read. Deskew straightens the picture and despeckle removes some of the extraneous “dirt.”


Pages or sections of pages can be saved in a variety of formats as shown below. Individuals using library computers can save to a USB thumb drive. Both printing and emailing default to save the page or section as a pdf file which can then be sent to a printer or attached to an email.
Save formats