Thursday, November 30, 2023

Ohlone in the News

The Ohlone tribes of the San Francisco Bay Area are news makers and shakers. Anyone can keep up with the triumphs, challenges, and stories from Ohlone tribes and their members by reading the news. Here are some tips for searching SFPL electronic news sources to stay abreast of the most recent goings-on. 

Recommended SFPL News Databases 

America's News (Newsbank platform) 

Connect to this database (SFPL Library card required) 

This database provides news articles from about 2,200 news outlets across the USA, including traditional print newspapers, news websites, blogs, radio programs, television programs, and other media. 

  • Pros: Search many news sources at once; Includes many California newspapers up to the most current issues, e.g. San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Tribune, San Jose Mercury News, and Sacramento Bee.
  • Cons: It does not include current articles from the Los Angeles Times or the New York Times, and it only has San Francisco Examiner content from 2008 - 2016 (and only web content at that); it's a little difficult to share lists of results with someone

US Newsstream (ProQuest platform)

Connect to this database (SFPL Library card required) 

This database provides news articles from about 1,300 news outlets across the USA, including traditional print newspapers, news websites, blogs, radio programs, television programs, and other media. 

  • Pros: Search many news sources at once; Includes current articles from the San Francisco Examiner, Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times; it's very easy to share result lists with others by generating a share link
  • Cons: Does not provide current articles from other California newspapers

Searching Tips 

Library databases don't exactly work like a Google search, for better and for worse. You want to be strategic about keywords and other ways to refine your search, and not to use long phrases or questions. Thankfully, these two are pretty similar so you can use the tips below in either one.


The keywords you pick should represent the concepts you're curious about in the most basic form. Think of one word to describe each concept rather than a long phrase or question. 

A simple search for Ohlone brings back tens of thousands of results. Try combining two or more keywords, or use specific names. 

For example, try "Muwekma Ohlone," "Ramaytush Ohlone," or "Tamien Nation" in quotes to find articles mentioning these tribes by name, in the exact order the words appear. 

Another example: put Ohlone DNA in the search box to find articles about the recent scientific break through of DNA evidence connecting current members of Muwekma to thousands-year-old remains in their ancestral homeland. You'll have results containing the words Ohlone and DNA anywhere in the record, but not side-by-side as a phrase. It is not necessary to connect the terms with the word and.

Sorting and filtering results:

Check out the left side bar of the result screen in either database. Use the Sort by tool to change the ranking to date (newest) or most recent first to see the most current news. For complex searches using many keywords and other strategies, a relevancy ranking may be more helpful. You can also use the date tool in the left panel to narrow to a specific time period. If the format of the news is important to you, you can use the Source Type tool to limit results to specific formats, for example newspapers or news wires. 

Refinement tools in US Newsstream are located on the left of the result screen

Follow the Ohlone in the news:

Create an alert from the database to get notified at desired intervals. Look for the Save Search/Alert tool in the top right corner of the screen to get the chance to set up email notifications when new articles matching your search terms appear in the database. 

Search alert tools in US Newsstream are located on the top right of the result screen

Search alert tools in America's News are located at the top center of the results screen

More Tips

Read the America's News help guide (PDF opens in new window), which describes many advanced searching techniques not discussed here, like Boolean operators and proximity searching. 
Read the US Newsstream training guide (webpage opens in new window), which describes advanced searching techniques specific to the ProQuest platform. 

Sample Search Results

Try these searches in either database for practice!

Keywords: ohlone dna "federal recognition"

Limit to: 2022-2023 

Which database is better? Do you see the same author names in the results from both databases? While the publications in either database are different, does the content of the articles seem consistent?

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Bound Periodicals in Open Stacks

The Magazines and Newspapers Center has been working for the past three years on an expansive project involving bound periodicals stored outside of the 5th floor of the library. We have reached significant milestones in this project, including cleaning and organizing tens of thousands of bound periodicals into Dewey decimal call number order in preparation for their relocation to a new storage facility. 

An exciting component of this project is that the most recent bound volume of any magazine we own will now be stored in the open stacks on the 5th floor of the library. This is called Open Stacks in the Library catalog but behind the scenes we call this Tier 0. For some of these titles, like The Atlantic, the most recent bound volume is for 2022; when we get the 2023 loose issues bound, the 2023 volume will replace the 2022 volume on the shelf. 

The library catalog record for The Atlantic indicates the volume containing the 2022 issues is located in the Open Stacks of the 5th floor.

For other titlesthe historical ones—the most recent volume on the shelf will be from some point in the past, and it will stay that way. An example of this is The Sketch, which ceased being published in 1958, so that last fat volume will remain on the open shelf indefinitely.

The library catalog record for The Sketch indicates the volume containing the 1958 issues is located in the Open Stacks of the 5th floor.

In this way, the shelving area where these bound volumes reside acts as an archive of magazine printing history, very visually indicating the life cycle of a print periodical's publication. In one glance it is possible to see the depth and breadth of SFPL's historical and current periodical holdings, and this expansive glance increases the chances of any one of us getting pulled into an historical world view as communicated by a particular magazine.

Photograph of a portion of the 5th floor Open Stacks periodical titles, including Special Libraries (1996), The New York Review of Books (2022), American Mercury (1979-1980), The Atlantic (2022), Century Magazine (1930), and Coronet (1977).

The Sketch is a great example of this. Starting publication in the late 19th century, this illustrated British social magazine coming out of London ran through 1958, at which point it ceased publication. To immerse oneself in the volume of the bound 1958 issues is to immerse oneself in a worldview still in the grips of British colonialism and one that is actively coping with letting go of hierarchical social practices like the debutante royal season, which was extinguished in 1958. The only people of color you will see in its pages are those from commonwealth countries like India, Singapore, and Nigeria and they will either be pretty and young or cultured artists in their own right. Yet pet animals like dogs star in regular features with witty captions, and a humor cartoon featuring a Siamese cat named Hei-Yu appears in every issue. In fact, the magazine is known for launching the marketing blitz of Bonzo the Dog (why not trinkets fashioned after Hei-Yu the cat?) and for launching the career of young mystery writer Agatha Christie, running almost 50 of her short stories from 1923-1924. 

Four images of the illustrated Siamese cat humor column "Hei-Yu" by Geoffrey Salter

There are regular entertainment columns featured in the magazine, and in one such piece from the January 15, 1958 issue we meet a very young Maggie Smith, now of course known as Dame Maggie Smith and still rocking the world of film and theater. Everyone got their start at some point, right, even if at the time they could only offer their love for olives as the most interesting thing about themselves.

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

What We're Reading - November, 2023

Here's a round-up of recent articles that the staff of the SFPL Magazines and Newspapers Center are reading. Access options for the articles are linked through the library's subscriptionsuse your library card to read for free.


Smoked Fish, Shaggy Hair and Tears: 8 Unforgettable Moments From Sam Bankman-Fried's Trial

Wall Street Journal, 2023, Nov 03

An interesting and amusing inside look at the spectacle of the Bankman-Fried trial.


San Francisco Chronicle, 2023, Nov 3

For any die-hard San Francisco voter, the name Ben Rosenfield is one you've seen on many a ballot over the years. This article pays tribute to his City budget wizardry, and wide-ranging respect. 


Spectacular Fall: [San Francisco] was on top, until it wasn't. But how broken is it, really?

New Yorker, 2023, Oct 23

Long-form piece probing the topics us locals have been following on a daily basis for several years.


"We're the Ones Who Hit You Up Before You Blow Up." 

There's a New Formula for Fame, and This Guy Understands It (Kinda). Inside a TikTok Talent Factory for Misfit Stars.

WIRED, 2023, Nov  

Long-form piece profiling one Ursus Magana, a TikTok talent manager who seems to have decoded the algorithm. In addition to explaining how TikTok works, the author of this article trains an observant eye on Magana's heritage and upbringing, making it a sort of ethnographic study as well as a tech tell-all.

Friday, November 3, 2023

Presentation: News from Native California

November is First Person: Honoring Native American and Indigenous Cultures at San Francisco Public Library. We have a whole month of programs planned to celebrate, but there is a very exciting program hosted by the Magazines and Newspapers Center on November 14 that we do not want you to miss! 

News From Native California 

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

4:00 - 5:00

Virtual Library

Register Online to Attend

Learn about News From Native California from its editor, Terria Smith. The library provides access via several databases, the online magazine platform, Flipster and in print. The current issue is on display in the 5th floor Reading Room. Subscribe by visiting their website. 

Presented by Terria Smith (Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla), Director of the Heyday Berkeley Roundhouse and Editor, News From Native California. 


News From Native California - Website | News From Native California - Instagram | News From Native California - Facebook 

A remarkable publication. Its articles run an amazing gamut — from scholarly to gossipy, from lyrical to gritty. 

—San Francisco Chronicle 


[A] full-fledged magazine focusing on the arts, education, the law, culture, language, [and] botany…, [News] probably has the widest literacy range of any periodical in the Western Hemisphere. 

—Los Angeles Times 


See event announcement on the master calendar.  

View other Magazines and Newspapers Center programs on the SFPL event calendar under the What's News heading.