WA Secretary of State Blogs

The New and Improved Online Index to the Olympian Just Released!

The webpage intro modestly states: “Produced by Washington State Library, this index contains citations to articles in The Olympian (Olympia, Washington) and other Washington state newspapers. Dates covered are from 1993-2009. Subsequent Olympian issues will be indexed as time allows.”

In reality this amazing finding aid is the result of thousands of hours of labor by dedicated WSL staff. Not only is this a valuable research tool for local Olympia area history and genealogy, but as The Olympian covers the State Capital in some detail this index has a value of statewide significance.

The new improved index includes more sophisticated searching options, as well as an opportunity for the library user to request the article once it is located. Crystal Lentz, one of our Public Services librarians, summarizes:

“All the records from the old database were imported into the new one and a new front end/search page was created.  A new feature of the database is a ‘Request this article’ link in each citation.  When customers click on the link they will be asked for their name, email address, zip code, and the name of the deceased person if the request is for an obituary article.  When the request is submitted, the citation and customer information are automatically sent to question queue where it will be claimed and filled by a librarian.”

Many thanks to Public Services librarian Mary Schaff for spearheading this upgrade,  Crystal Lentz, and Head of Public Services Lori Thornton for setting the wheels in motion. We also extend our gratitude to Webmaster Matthew Edwards for listening to our ideas and making the new index a reality in a very short time.

The online Olympian index can be found at:


We also have an Olympian index for 1989-1993 available in print, but the data is also stored on ancient 5 and half inch square Bernoulli tapes. If anyone out there has a device that will help us extract this information so we can convert it to an online finding aid, we would love to talk with you!

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3 Responses to “The New and Improved Online Index to the Olympian Just Released!”

  1. What a wonderful resource! Thank you all.

  2. Rand Simmons Says:

    This is a wonderful step forward in making information more widely available and meeting the needs of people where they are. Thanks, Steve Willis, for you leadership and to all who worked so hard to bring this project to reality, particularly Mary, Crystal, Lori, Matthew Edwards, Steve Metcalf, and Bill Teed. Rand Simmons, Acting State Librarian, Washington State Library

  3. Kelsey Smith Says:

    We use this index daily at the Olympia Timberland Library. Thank you to the volunteers and staff that have worked so hard on it for many years, it is such a valuable resource. We appreciate you!