When starting historical newspaper research for a research paper or thesis/dissertation:
Identify the time period you plan to research.
Use digital databases (a list of licensed historical newspapers can be found on the Historical Newspaper Research Guide) that index the newspaper you are researching. Some print newspaper indexes are available at MU Libraries Special Collections and the State Historical Society of Missouri.
If MU Libraries does not own the digital version (.pdf) or microfilm of the newspaper you need, check the Historical Newspaper Research Guide page. If it is not listed on that page, check Worldcat to see if another library owns the microfilm. If it is available, request it from another library using interlibrary loan.
Most digital news databases begin coverage in the 1990's, with some starting in the late 1980's, but they are often not a complete representation of the print newspaper. Freelance articles may have been removed due to the Tasini Case, a 2001 Supreme Court Ruling that freelance journalists must be compensated when database aggregators post born digital content online. To avoid that payment, most publishers pull freelance articles before they are posted online . Therefore the only way to get the entire newspaper is either through microfilm or the digitized version (.pdf) of the whole newspaper. The Tasini Ruling exempted payment to freelancers for microfilmed or digitized newspaper content.
Alliance for Audited Media (AAM) [formerly: Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC)] provides circulation statistics for several thousand US and Canadian newspapers and periodical publications. Reports include statistics on paid and non-paid subscriptions, including digital subscriptions, home delivery and single-copy sales and are in PDF format. Yearly audit reports also include geographic breakdowns of circulation and some demographic information on readership. Search by title, periodical classification, market area, or circulation size.
NAA is a nonprofit organization representing nearly 2,000 newspapers and their multiplatform businesses in the United States and Canada. NAA members include daily newspapers, as well as non-dailies, other print publications and online products. This is a good place to find news industry trends and statistics.
If the book you need is not available through MERLIN or MOBIUS, you can request it via WorldCat, an international catalog containing over 95 million records of books and other materials held in libraries worldwide.