National History Day Projects!


Reference Sources- these databases are great for your START:

  1. For an overview of your topic and its related subtopics, use the World Book or Britannica databases.  Your search terms might need to be broader if you are finding “zero hits.”
  2. If your historical topic happened anytime in the years 1700 – 2001, Salem History is the database to use. Use MackinVia in an internet browser to search.   We have the Salem BOOKS, too, if you prefer using print to working electronically.
  3. If you want materials that are focused on a specific person and their context and impact, try Gale’s Biography in Context.
  4. If you cannot find your topic using the source above, continue down the suggestions below because they also contain reference sources.

Secondary Sources:

  1. Move into Gale World History in Context database.  (Select the US History in Context database, instead, if you are studying a topic of US history.  Or if your project is about a person, use Gale Biographies in Context database.) Each of these databases provides professionally written articles from reference sources, magazines and primary sources.  Your article might provides carefully reviewed web sites and videos.  (The “Academic Journals” might be written for an older audience.)
  2. H-B’s library subscribes to databases specifically for art and music (from Oxford), religion (from Infobase) and history of the 1800’s – 2000 (from Salem.) They are in the MackinVia list that your teacher’s home page of the Canvas course links.  Ask Maggie and Carol for help finding citations and searching them.
  3. Do a library catalog search on your topic. (The fastest way to the library catalog is the link on the menu of this H-B Web site page.)Many times, print books will be your best resource, especially if your topic is historical.  History is best taught in books, and the authors aren’t giving away their life’s work for free on the internet.In a small library like ours, you can also just go to the 900s for History, or to the the BIOGRAPHY section to look on the shelves for a call number 92-_ _ _ where the last part is the first three letters of the biographee’s last name.  Example:  92-LIN  is where to find biographies on Abraham Lincoln.
  4. Opposing Viewpoints in Context is outstanding for presenting different perspectives on controversial issues grappled with in TODAY’s world. Some reference articles there explain the historical development of an issue.
  5. Our Video DatabaseDiscovery Education has full length videos (and clips) that teachers use to teach their history courses. (Citations that you can copy/paste, too!) Use “MyAccess.apsva.us” in an internet browser to find Discovery Education. (Earbuds needed!)
  6. Advanced Research: Put the name of your person or event in “quotation marks” when you search the database called Proquest E-book Central. Use “advanced search” techniques and sources.

Primary Sources:

  1. Wikipedia articles on your topic sometimes link primary sources.  Those are the BEST AND MOST CREDIBLE information that Wikipedia might provide a scholar; be skeptical of other information in Wikipedia. (Don’t cite Wikipedia in your research papers.)
  2. The Salem database has essential speeches and carefully excerpted writings that changed history in these centuries: 1700s, 1800s, 1900s.
  3. Work inside the databases to efficiently find primary sources that have been collected for you.
  4. Library books are great sources of primary sources such as images and speeches that were collected by the author to add detail and evidence to her work.   Do a library catalog search of “all libraries” within Arlington Public Schools and get help from the librarian to obtain an inter-library loan (ILL) if necessary.
  5. Gale’s US or World History in Context database is helpful for understanding the context. It may primary sources when you research about the time period (instead of a person.)
  6. Fordham University’s Internet History Sourcebookslink.
  7. Check with Maggie! She buys books that have primary sources and can help you find them on the shelves.  “History is best taught in BOOKS!” Browse the shelves using the Dewey Decimal System.

For a list of Information Literacy Skills emphasized for Middle Schoolers at HBW, use the link at left.  Need help?  Ask your librarian!  She might have the perfect resource to help!