22.2. Finding digitised periodicals#

Trove has a ready-made list of digitised newspaper titles for you to search and browse. However, there’s no comparable list for other types of periodicals. So how do you find out which periodicals have been digitised? Unfortunately there’s no simple answer, but here are some possible strategies.

  • records describing periodicals are mostly in the Books & Libraries category

  • records describing articles extracted from periodicals are in the Magazines & Newsletters category

  • records describing selected periodicals and articles are in the Research & Reports

22.2.1. Search for titles#

You can search for periodical titles as you would other digitised resources, using "nla.obj" as your query, setting the format facet to Periodical, and the availability facet to y. However, this will include publications submitted through NED, as well as a large number of Parliamentary Papers, so you might want to add further filters. For example, a search for "nla.obj" NOT series:"Parliamentary paper (Australia. Parliament)" NOT nuc:"ANL:NED", with format set to Periodical and availability set to y, currently returns 957 results in the Books & Libraries category. Using the API, with category set to all, there are 1,078 results.

Try it!

These searches return work-level records. As with other ‘works’ in Trove, the records can combine multiple ‘versions’ of the periodical, grouping Trove’s digitised version with metadata from other sources.

The ‘digitised item’ link in the work record takes you to the digital collection viewer, which brings together all the issues from the periodical that have been digitised and made available through Trove.


Fig. 22.3 Work record for The Home, https://trove.nla.gov.au/work/12397115#

Records for most periodical titles can be found in the Books & Libraries category, but they can pop up in other categories as well. Strangely enough, there are very few title records in the Magazines & Newsletters category. This is because it mostly contains records for articles extracted from periodicals, rather than records for the periodicals themselves.

22.2.2. Search for articles#

Another way to explore the range of digitised periodicals available from Trove is to search for articles in the Magazines & Newsletters category. Once you’ve run a search, the Title facet will indicate how your results are distributed across the range of available titles. You can also use the Title facet to limit your results to a particular periodical.


Fig. 22.4 Results of a search in the Magazines & Newsletters category showing the Title facet#

The Read links in article records opens up the digitised journal viewer to display the page on which the article was published. You can use the navigation links in the viewer to browse up through the hierarchy and view the complete set of issues from that title.

22.2.3. Using the API#

Version 3 of the Trove API introduced the magazine/titles endpoint. You can use this endpoint to request basic details of all the digitised periodicals in Trove.

Try it!

Here’s an example of a periodical record. The nla.obj links in the data go directly to the digital collection viewer.

    "id": "nla.obj-3000083880",
    "title": "Adelaide punch.",
    "publisher": "W.G. Roberts",
    "place": [
        "South Australia"
    "troveUrl": "https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-3000083880",
    "startDate": "1868-01-01",
    "endDate": "1884-01-01"

The API currently returns information on 2,504 titles. However, this includes many Parliamentary Papers and several hundred duplicate records.

22.2.4. Search versus API#

I’ve harvested lists of digitised periodicals using both the search strategy described above and the magazine/titles endpoint. Once I excluded the Parliamentary Papers, the number of titles returned by both methods was similar, but not the same. For example, the search results included some single issues of periodicals which were treated as standalone publications rather than as members of a collection. On the other hand, the API results include some periodicals whose format field doesn’t include Periodical, as well as some titles that currently have no issues digitised.

This means that there’s no straighforward way of determining which periodicals have been digitised. The answer will depend on what you think a periodical is, and what you want to do with the data. Hopefully, some of the problems with the magazine/titles endpoint will be fixed over time, so that it will at least provide a consistent, if not complete, answer to the question.