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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

History 172: U.S. History since 1877

A guide to completing the library research component of your assignment to identify a moment in U.S. history after 1980 that should be given more emphasis in your textbook.


This page is a guide to finding serial publications of the non-mainstream media, often referred to as “alternative” or “underground” press publications, which include newspapers, magazines, newsletters, and other types of serial publications. These periodicals tend to be written from an acknowledged political perspective–for example, liberal or conservative–and they often promote a specific agenda. They might, however, report on news that is of interest to a specific community–often a marginalized one–without endorsing any defined ideology. Examples of these might be African American newspapers, gay and lesbian magazines, military newspapers, or publications of immigrant groups.

Alternative newspapers and periodicals are sometimes mistakenly referred to as "underground newspapers." Strictly speaking, an underground publication is one that is published secretly--in other words, the place of publication and identity of the publisher are not disclosed. Most alternative newspapers and periodicals in library collections do not meet this criterion.

Digital Collections

LGBTQ Newspapers and Periodicals

Article Indexes

Article indexes index the contents of newspapers and periodicals. Historically, periodicals were not digitized, and periodicals were only described in library catalogs with a single record, the record for the periodical itself. Article indexes facilitated the discovery of the actual articles within those periodicals.

Because the Library did not subscribe to every (or even most) alternative periodicals, and because not all alternative periodicals have been digitized, and because not all digitized periodicals are available in a single collection, the article indexes provide the only efficient means of identifying relevant articles from across the widest possible range of periodical publications.

The only article indexes listed in this section are those that are available online, as searchable databases. There are several important article indexes, especially for labor history, that are only available in print, and those are listed in the section Bibliographies, Catalogs, and Guides.

Learn More


Bizot, Jean-François. Free Press: Underground and Alternative Publications, 1965-1975. Trans. David H. Wilson. New York: Universe Publishing, 2006.

Carpenter, Gerald. “Alternative Press.” The St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. Eds. Sara Pendergast and Tom Pendergast. Detroit: St. James Press, 2000. 60-62.

Wachsberger, Ken, ed. Voices from the Underground. Tempe, Ariz.: Mica Press, 1993.

Barlow, Aaron. “The Rise of the Blogosphere: Alternative Journalism.” The Rise of the Blogosphere. Westport, Conn.: Praeger Publishers, 2007.

Cohen, Mitchell. “Decades of Dissent.” Dissent 51, no. 2 (Winter, 2004): 5-8.

Halleck, DeeDee. “Alternative Media in the United States.” Battleground: The Media. Eds. Robin Andersen and Jonathan Gray. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2008.

Shore, Elliott. “Decade of Dissent: The Alternative Press in Philadelphia, 1966-1976.” Drexel Library Quarterly 12 (July, 1976): 59-74.