So you just got a research assignment. Maybe you have to write a one-page report on one of the presidents for middle school; maybe you have to turn in a 2,000-word research paper for that AP history class. What’s your first step – Google?
Don’t worry, Google is many people’s first stop too! There’s a wealth of information available on the internet.
But as you might have noticed, sometimes you have to sort through pages of irrelevant, biased, or untrustworthy results before you find something you can actually use for your assignment.
Or maybe you’re not sure why your teacher says not to use Wikipedia or Joe Shmoe’s blog in your research.
Did you know that the library provides you access to tons of information that isn’t available on the open web? That means you won’t find it in a Google search! Some of the items on this list are library databases that you can access from home with a library card; we’ve also included some great places for helping you find reliable research sources on the internet.
Need help right now? Through Ask Here PA, you can chat one-on-one with a librarian!
Start Your Search:
Encyclopedia Britannica – “Easy to use, and easy to find trusted information,” says the website. Sections for children, youth, and adults.
Sweet Search – “A search engine for students.” You’ll find the same reliable information here you’d find on a web search with Google, but without having to sort through countless pages of information that you’re not sure you can trust.
CLP’s Teen Links: Homework – Find library and internet resources for English & Language Arts, Foreign Languages, History & Social Studies, and Math & Science.
**Note – you’ll need to sign in with your library card to access all of these resources.
Newspapers, Magazines, and Journals:
POWER Library – “Provides access to thousands of full text periodical articles, newspapers, a major encyclopedia, plus photographs, pictures, charts, maps, and reference materials for people of all ages.”
GALE Acedemic OneFile – provides postsecondary students with peer-reviewed, full-text articles from journals in the areas of the physical and social sciences, technology, medicine, engineering, the arts, technology, literature, and more.
General OneFile is a general interest periodical resource, offering more than 8,000 titles. With millions of articles available in PDF and HTML full-text, the collection is also supplemented by reference, newspaper, and audio content.
InfoTrac Student Edition – provides secondary school students with access to age appropriate content from magazines, journals, newspapers, and reference books, covering a wide range of subjects, from science, history, and literature to political science, sports, and environmental studies.
Literature and Writing:
Gale LitFinder – International in scope, LitFinder covers all time periods, and contains literature content, including more than 140,000 full-text poems, 840,000 poem citations and excerpts, 7,100 full-text short stories and novels, 3,800 full-text essays published in the 16th-20th centuries, 2,400 full-text speeches, and 1,250 full-text plays. It also includes biographies, work summaries, photographs, and a glossary. Within LitFinder’s collection, users can access works from over 80,000 authors from 660 nationalities
Contemporary Authors – Biographical coverage of more than 100,000 writers, entries on contemporary authors.
History, Geography, & Current Events:
A World Factbook – Published by the Central Intelligence Agency of the U.S., the website contains statistics for countries around the world. There are images of flags and reference maps in a variety of formats.
AP Images – More than 500,000 current and historical photographs and graphics can be searched by date, place and subject. More than 800 photographs are added to the archive daily. You’ll need to sign in with your library card to access this resource.
Library of Congress: Prints and Photographs – Includes over 14 million digitized images from the Library of Congress image collection.
Flickr – Many of the images on Flickr are shared with Creative Commons licenses, which means that you can include them in presentations and other school projects without violating copyright. Ask a librarian for more information about copyright and images.