Gone are the days when teachers have to rely on the limited selection of paper-bound “readers” for supplementary material like primary documents or scholarly articles. There’s a plethora of sources on the web, and Google’s specialized searches make it easier than ever to find what you want.
If you’re looking for past news articles, Google News Timeline provides a fun and intuitive way to search. Simply enter a year, month, and even day to see news articles published on that date. You can then refine your search by entering a subject and clicking “add more queries” to select a type of media like newspapers or magazines. The best thing about News Timeline, however, is the easy-to-use display that arranges the results chronologically. The example above is the result of searching Time Magazine exactly 30 years ago. Clicking an issue took me to Time’s page where the full articles were available. Using News Timeline I’ve found articles as far back as the early 1800s, and in some ways the older ones are the best because you get an image of the original print!
Another source for high-quality readings is Google Scholar. It searches publications like academic journals, public domain books, and court opinions. The options give you the same ability as News Timeline to refine your search by subject, author, and date. For some of the results, only an abstract is available, but for many you can read the full text. My Scholar search for works about Emily Dickinson published since 2000 yielded an entire book of academic reviews and several journal abstracts.
These search engines can open more options for you and your students as alternatives to textbook readings. Historical articles from News Timeline can give a perspective from a different time period, while Scholar can ensure that you keep up with recent developments.