This is an ongoing project by 48 Hills and the Internet Archives to scan every issue of legendary alternative newspaper the San Francisco Bay Guardian, making them available to our readers. Not all issues are available online yet, we will post more as they are scanned. You can support our community effort to preserve and display the Bay Guardian here.
The Guardian is still publishing: You can check out recent Guardian articles and endorsements here, and browse the latest Best of the Bay here. We are incredibly grateful to Rainbow Grocery for their support for this project. Special thanks to Matt Fisher, Leighton Walter, and all the Bay Guardian donors who are helping to make this project possible. Please contact marke@48hills.org if you have any questions.

How to use these archives

You can view and search the archives in two formats:

  • Flip-through editions allow you to flip through actual issues in a searchable PDF format
  • Text articles for many of our articles written after word-processing software became standard are also available. These articles are presented based on where they originally appeared, whether in the print edition of the Guardian, or online at SFBG.com.

Not all articles are available in both formats, so try both if you can’t find one.

Search and browsing tips

Issue numbering
The Guardian editorial calendar resets in October. Issue #1 was published the first week of October every year.

How to search PDFs
Our search bar above only returns results from full-text stories from our print and blog sections. All our PDFs are hosted at the Internet Archive and our PDF viewer uses the Internet Archive’s embedded web PDF viewer. You can search for stories in PDFs by following these steps:

  • Navigate to the PDF you want to search in our Flip-through editions section.
  • Expand the PDF viewer to full screen by clicking the expand icon or by clicking the issue title link in the viewer.
  • In full screen mode, use the Search inside bar at the top right corner to find the text you’re looking for.

Blogs vs print sections
In most cases, posts that appeared online at sfbg.com but not in print (e.g., blog entries and some listings) are not categorized by Issue. To find blog posts, search for the blog name or browse under the SFBG Blogs menu item.

Topic searching
We have newly reindexed all topic keywords based on basic automated text analysis. If you notice really screwy results when searching by topic, we’d appreciate you letting us know.

Writer searching
In some cases the name attributions in the old database file don’t reflect the correct byline. We’d appreciate your help identifying misattributed stories so we can correct them.

Structural continuity
Over its 50 year history, the Guardian’s structure evolved continuously. Sections grew and split, columns came and went, topics got expanded into special editions and sometimes refolded back into the paper. For the most part, we’re presenting sections and organizational concepts as they would have appeared circa 2014.

That means that some special editions, pullouts, columns and blogs may be categorized differently here than they were at original pub date.

As older and pre-internet issues of the paper become available, we’ll rely mostly on automated text analysis to help determine how to categorize and find stories.