“Indexes to Early American Periodicals” are “key word” indexes.
That is, the topics are typically proper people, places or things and all
entries are described by a sub-topic which may range from being a word to a
sentence. Some typical examples of entries might be:
The indexing is article level indexing and in most cases taken by the
indexer from the body of the text of the article, either by browsing the text or
by modifying an existing index or table of contents or a combination of these
techniques, a methodology which has been refined and perfected over a period of
- Topic: Washington, George
of his work as President
- Topic: Morality
Sub-Topic: essay on
- Topic: Virginia
Sub-Topic: agriculture in
It is recommended that as little information be put into a search as possible
as terminology and spelling is very loose in periodicals of this time period. A
person’s name may not only be spelled differently from one issue to another, but
in many cases the same person can be referred to as:
Therefore, if you search for “Thackeray, William
Makepeace”, the index would not return to you the other entries for Thackeray.
If you searched for only “Thackeray”, you would be provideded with all possible
Thackeray entries. You could then decifer which entries were appropriate.
- Thackeray, William Makepeace
- Thackeray, William M.
- Thackeray, W.M.
- Thackeray, Mr.
- Thackeray, W.
The indexer has made no attempt at any type of authority control, that is the
standardization of names, where there is not enough information to make that
kind of decision.
Also many names and terms have changed over the years:
have changed these two examples in the index, terms or names of topics you are
searching for probably have remained unchanged in the index, due to lack of
information on the part of the indexer.
- Shakespeare used to be spelled Shakspeare
- Bonaparte used to be spelled Buonaparte
In addition, terms you are familiar with in today’s terminology might not
have been the same during this era and have been left unchanged. Therefore, as
an example, if you were searching for information on African American you
would have to search for:
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