Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection: Adding Newspapers to Your Library Catalog

December 2022 Update

Do you want to provide access to free historic newspapers directly from your library catalog? Meet Colorado State Library’s CHNC MARC record database: it contains free, full, title-level MARC records for all newspapers currently in the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection (CHNC). That’s over 630 titles! Each CHNC MARC record contains a link to the specific title on the CHNC platform; from there, users can search within the title, browse available issues, and explore related titles.

The CHNC platform offers world-class functionality and content that we know your patrons will love, but they might not know that this fantastic, free resource even exists. That’s where your catalog comes in: adding MARC records for CHNC titles makes this resource more visible to patrons, since they are starting from an interface they already know and use.

Whether you have contributed digitized newspaper content to CHNC or you just want to make your patrons aware that many historic Colorado newspapers are available electronically, consider adding CHNC MARC records to your catalog.

How do I retrieve CHNC MARC records?

CHNC MARC records live in a bibliographic database that is Z39.50 compliant, so all you need to retrieve records is a Z39.50 client and the CHNC MARC record database settings (below). Most integrated library systems (ILS) offer a native Z39.50 client, so you can use that. Or if you prefer to build a file outside of your ILS, you can choose from any number of freely available Z39.50 clients (examples given here were created using MARCEdit’s Z39.50/SRU client, which is always a good choice).

Z39.50 Database Settings

Note: If you configured your Z39.50 database prior to November 2022, you will need to update the Host to the address shown below. All other settings are the same.

Name: chnc


Database: biblios

Port: 2100

Syntax: MARC21

Screenshot of Z39.50 settings

Searching Suggestions

There are a number of ways that you can search the database in order to retrieve specific titles, sets of related titles, or sets based on geographic region (i.e. county).

To retrieve a single record:

Each CHNC title has been assigned a control number, which you can determine by consulting this list: CHNC MARC Record Control Numbers. Simply do a keyword search for the title and use the control number to retrieve the corresponding MARC record.

Search CHNC Control Number as a Keyword:

Search results from a control number search

To retrieve a single title and any related titles:

As much as possible, CHNC MARC records have been enhanced to include related, preceding, and succeeding title information for titles also available in the CHNC database. So a search for a single title will retrieve records for any related title.

Search title as Keyword:

Search results from title as keyword

*Note that if no related titles are available in the database, a title search will retrieve only the title matching the search criteria.

To retrieve a set of titles based on county of publication:

For libraries interested in highlighting local newspapers, most CHNC MARC records have been enhanced to include county information. The county given in the catalog record is the current county for the place of publication, and not necessarily the county during the publication’s run. For example, the city of Alamosa was located in Costilla County until Alamosa County was formed in 1913. So while during the time of its publication, the Alamosa Courier was technically published in Costilla County, the MARC data reflects the current county of the place of publication – Alamosa County.

Search [name] county by Keyword:

Search results of county as keyword

My library is part of a shared catalog (AspenCat or Marmot). Should I retrieve and load records?

If you are a Marmot library, the records are available to you through Pika: you will need to have your library’s Pika administrator contact Marmot at and ask to include the Colorado Historical Newspaper Collection in your sideload.

If you are an AspenCat library, you are welcome to load CHNC records using the Z39.50 instructions; however, be aware that we are working with AspenCat administrators to make CHNC data available for all their members without individual libraries needing to retrieve and load records. Stay tuned for more information!

How will I know when MARC records for new titles are added to the database?

We add new titles and new issues to CHNC all the time! To keep up with new content, subscribe to Our Collection forum within CHNC. All content changes are reflected in the CHNC MARC records database within a month of going live in CHNC.

You can also consult the CHNC MARC Record Control Numbers spreadsheet to see a list of all the titles and their control numbers sorted by date updated.

Where can I get help or learn more?

If you need help connecting to the Z39.50 server, retrieving records, or would like to report a problem with the MARC data, please reach out to Amy Hitchner, If you would like more information about CHNC in general, contact Leigh Jeremias,

Amy Hitchner
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