How can I search for articles that were published before an index/database coverage dates? How do I find older articles?
If you need to find articles from a time period before an online databases started or more historical articles here are some suggestions. Note: There are some differences based on subject areas.
Finding a print counterpart to an online index/database
Many online databases were preceeded by a print version. Search in MNCAT, the library catalog, under the title of the database to find.
Note: Sometimes the print and online database have different titles. The record for the online database should point you to the print title.
Finding a database/index in the same field
Sometimes there is no print counterpart to an online database. Search in MNCAT, the library catalog, with a keyword search on a subject term and the words "abstracts or indexes or bibliography." This will give you a large, imprecise results set, but the periodical indexes for that subject will be there.
Or consult the "Guide to Reference Books" (Quarto Z1035.1 .G89) for identifying databases/indexes (it is often called Sheehy, after the editor of the previous ten editions)
Finding a Broader Subject Database/Index
If the specific indexes in your field do not begin early enough, you may want to try a more general index. (This is more likely in the social sciences and humanities, since indexes in most scientific fields began in the nineteenth century.). Here are a few suggestions many with earliest issues.