Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection: Exposing Newspapers in Your Library Catalog

*Please refer to the newer version of this post, published on December 8, 2022, for updated configuration information.

Whether you have contributed digitized newspaper content to the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection (CHNC), or you just want to make Colorado-curious patrons searching your catalog aware that many historic Colorado newspapers are available electronically, the Colorado State Library’s new CHNC MARC record database makes it easy for you to search for and retrieve full, title-level MARC records for all titles currently represented in the CHNC collection that are ready to be added to your catalog.

Why add MARC records for CHNC titles to your catalog?

The CHNC platform offers great functionality for users to search by full text, browse, and more. However, some of your patrons might not be aware of the CHNC, or know that lots of historic newspapers are available electronically. Adding MARC records for CHNC titles just makes this (free!) resource more visible to your patrons, from an interface they are already familiar with. Each CHNC MARC record contains a link to the specific title on the CHNC platform from which users can search within the title, browse available issues, and explore related titles.

How do I retrieve CHNC MARC records?

CHNC records live in a bibliographic database that is Z39.50 compliant, so all you need is a Z39.50 client, and the CHNC MARC record database settings in order to connect and retrieve records. If your integrated library system (ILS) offers a native Z39.50 client, you can use that. 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

z39.50 database settings
Name: chnc


Database: biblios

Port: 2100

Syntax: MARC21

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 (county) region.

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 control number of the title to retrieve the corresponding MARC record.

Search CHNC Control Number as a Keyword:

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:

Title Keyword Search

*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:

As much as possible, CHNC MARC records have been enhanced to include county information to facilitate retrieval of data by region for libraries interested in highlighting local newspapers. 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:

County Search

My Library is part a shared catalog (AspenCat or Marmot), should I retrieve and load records?

You can, but we are working with Marmot and AspenCat administrators to make CHNC data available for all participating libraries, without individual libraries needing to retrieve and load records. Stay tuned for more information!

I need assistance with CHNC MARC records and/or more information – how can I get help?

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 Marisa Wood ( If you would like more information about CHNC in general, contact Leigh Jeremias (

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

We are working on some options for notifications for new and updated records. Check back for more information soon!