The initial phase in the project was to identify and locate Illinois newspapers, both original print and microfilm, throughout the state. To make this task more manageable, we divided Illinois into 7 separate cataloging regions. (See map on right.)
First, we sent an introductory letter and survey to every public library, academic library, and genealogical or historical society we could find in each region. Our survey inquired about newspapers, including those on microfilm, that are a permanent part of the institution's collection.
Next, we visited the institutions that have newspapers. We also tried to submit a short article to a newspaper office in each county to inform the local community about the INP.
One of the most important ways we discovered newspapers was by word of mouth. People who work at libraries and genealogical or historical societies have a wealth of knowledge about the history of their towns and counties. We often received referrals and suggestions about where to find Illinois newspapers as a result of our website, surveys, and articles in local newspapers.