Searching is free, but to download full text, there will be a $1.95 charge per article. Payment for articles can be done on an article-by-article basis with a Mastercard or Visa.

1. Enter words and phrases to search for:  appearing
(separate keywords with an AND or an OR)

2. Sort

3. Limit total results to

4. Search years

Questions: Call 800-896-5587 or click to e-mail

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What's here

Original Roanoke Times news stories from 1990 to the present. Prior editions are available on microfiche at Roanoke Valley libraries. (540-853-2073)

To find news stories published within the past week, use our main search page. These recent stories are available at no cost.

What you won't find
  • Photographs, graphics, charts
  • Recipes
  • Advertising in The Roanoke Times
  • Stories from news wire agencies including AP, New York Times, other newspapers, most op-ed and opinion pieces published on Roanoke Times editorial pages. See more below.
Things to know before searching
  • Searching The Roanoke Times Archives is free; viewing the full article costs $1.95.
  • You'll need a password to retrieve stories: simply perform your search and click on the link to ''view the full text of the article.'' A window will open with a link to register as a new user.
  • Services will be billed to a Visa or Mastercard account only. Checks, cash or money orders cannot be accepted. Roanoke Times newspaper subscription accounts cannot be credited.
For technical issues such as problems while registering for an account, please e-mail Newslibrary. And allow for 1-2 business days for response.

Billing or account questions? Call NewsLibrary support at 1-800-896-5587.

Other news searches

If the locally written story you're looking for was recently published on and in The Roanoke Times newspaper, search our free local search. Just type in a keyword under the "Search" box, which is the white field on the left-hand side of the page, and hit your enter key.

Other newspapers Search the archives of more than 60 newspapers from across the country (fee for retrieval).

Fine print on searching

Your most effective search will usually be the simplest. Start by searching on just one keyword, such as a writer or person's last name. If you know specific words ought to be in the archive, enclose them in parentheses, as in (Home Shopping Network)

To find an obituary:

Obituaries posted since October, 1998, can be found using obit and the person's name as a keyword search. For example, type: obit - williams in the Enter words and phrases to search for: box.

Before October, 1998, all of the obituaries for a given day of the week are in one long file. If you are searching for a Smith, it will be part of a file that you'll see starting with Abbott, Adams, or Abercrombie - or some name at the beginning of the alphabet, as that is how obituaries are listed. Smith will appear on that list when you download the file.

In Food stories, recipes are not included.

If you are having trouble finding what you are looking for, keywords can help narrow your search and should be part of your search statement. One keyword you should NOT use is Roanoke. Because each story in this archive originated in The Roanoke Times, an unfortunate redundancy occurs.

Because of our imperfect indexing, our news librarians have created certain keywords that will help make your search more precise. Some examples:

romur - for murders that happen in the Roanoke Valley (Rke. Salem or Vinton)

nrvmur - for murders that happen in the New River Valley. Similarly, frankmur for Franklin County murders, bedmur for Bedford murders and and botmur for Botetourt County murders.

politics - stories that pertain to political races

election - for election results

photo - for stories that include photos (this database doesn't include photos, just the captions.)

fatality - used for stories about fatal accidents, shootings, etc. 

To find a column:

Doug Doughty's College Notebook column: column(college notebook)

Beth Macy's columns : column(beth macy)

Joe Kennedy's column: column(cuppa joe)

To find stories written by a particular reporter:

byline(joel turner) or byline(turner) 

To retreive a stories in a particular section:


If you want just letters to the editor: section(editorial) and type(letter). 

To find all of the stories in a series:

series(peril and promise) 

To search a particular date or range of dates:

date(05/01/95) or date(05/01/97 to 07/15/97)

Boolean connectors: AND means that both search terms must appear in the story. Example: Tobacco and settlement

OR means either must appear in the story. Example: Deion Saunders and (football or baseball)

BUTNOT means that the search term will not be in the story. Be very careful with this, you could exclude information that you need. Example: Greenways butnot section(editorial) This will retreive stories about greenways but not the editorials, letters to the editor or commentaries.

Tom /3 James means that the word Tom must be withing 3 words of James. This will retreive Tom James, Tom J. James, Tom Robert James and James Tom. This search engine is not case sensitive. It will automatically get plurals.

The exclamation point can be useful. If searching for a story involving embezzlement, and you are not sure whether it involves embezzlers, embezzle or embezzles, make your keyord embezzle!

If you are not sure of the year the story was written, change the pull-down menu on the search form to All Years.

More on Boolean operators: "and" and "or" to refine your search, and separate your terms with parentheses to prevent ambiguity. For example:

Mayor and (neighborhood zoning)

You can also search for specific sources, dates and sections by typing that information:

George Kegley and July 10 and business

It's often best to try several searches, then evaluate the results, before retrieving the full text of articles, for which there is a charge.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the charges for the archives?

Conducting a search in the archives is free; there is only a charge for retrieving the full text of an article. You can enter your search terms and conduct a search that will bring you a list of headlines and first paragraphs without being charged.

If you choose to retrieve the full text of the article, you will need to set up an account using your credit card number. Then, each article you retrieve will cost $2.95.

2. What does it mean to set up an account?

Setting up an account can be done quickly and easily via the Web. You will go to a secure form, where you'll be asked to enter things like a credit card number, a password, and some billing information. Once you enter this information, your account will be set up and you will only have to enter your username and password to retrieve the full text of an article. Your credit card information will be encrypted using Netscape's SSL protocol.

3. Why is The Roanoke Times charging for its archives?

In the past, users have paid fees to access The Roanoke Times articles through Lexis/Nexis, DataTimes and Dow Jones News Retrieval. Users have also paid to obtain reprints directly from The Roanoke Times. We've decided to make our archives accessible via the Web so that they would be available to a larger community of users at a lower cost.

The online archives are intended as a convenience for those who prefer to do their research on the Web. Of course, you can always research Roanoke Times articles at the Roanoke Public Library.

4. Can I post a Roanoke Times archival article on my Web site?

No. By paying a fee for access to an article, you do not have the right to re-publish it on your Web homepage. Archival articles are copyright of the Times-World Corp. and may not be republished without written permission. To obtain permission, you must submit a letter to the editor, Carole Tarrant, 201 W. Campbell Ave., Roanoke, Va. 24010

5. Can I link to a Roanoke Times archival article from my Web site?

You may opt to link to an article, but be aware that in order to view the full text of the article, visitors to your site will have to first set up an account and pay for access to this article.

6. What won't I find in the Roanoke Times archives?

You won't find stories written by wire services such as the AP or Reuters or syndicated columnists such as Ann Landers or George Will. You also will not be able to search for ads, graphics, or photographs. You will, however, find 10 years of staff-written stories, as well as letters to the editor, obituaries and more.

7. I can't find what I'm looking for. Can you help?

We can't conduct specific searches for users, or send articles by e-mail. We can, though try to help you narrow your search. Here are some examples of common searches:

  • I'm looking for an obituary of someone named Hardy.

    Try entering these terms: hardy and obit and (section)Virginia 

  • I'm looking for an article that ran in the Extra section and mentioned George Jones in the first paragraph in 1994.

    Try entering these terms: lead(george jones) and section(extra), then pull down the date menu to select 1994. 

  • I want to find an article about David Bowers written by Dan Casey that ran on page one of The Roanoke Times.

    Try entering these terms: bowers and page(1) and byline(casey) 

  • I want to find all mentions of Noel Taylor that are unrelated to City Hall.

    Try entering these terms: noel taylor but not city hall 

  • I'm looking for an article about cranberries (the food, not the band) that ran between March and Septmeber of this year.

    Try entering these terms: cranberries and date(3-01-96 to 9-01-96) but not music or band or tour 

  • I want to find an article that ran sometime in the last three months about money and the Explore Park.

    Try entering these terms: money and explore park and date(last 3 months)

8. Who can I call/e-mail for help?

If you are having problems with your account, or cannot retrieve an article using your username and password, you can call 800-896-5587 or e-mail Operators there cannot retrieve articles for you or answer questions about specific articles that appeared in The Roanoke Times. Please consult item 7 on this page for help with searching.

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