History Fair Help

Thursday, September 30, 2021
History Fair Help


Are you a middle or high school student with a research project coming up?

Are you planning to compete in a History Fair?

Jacksonville Public Library has the materials, resources and support you need to do original research about people, ideas, and events of the past. What’s more, you can access much of this information online from home just using your computer and student card!

Where to Start?

You can start your research by using what we call “databases.” A database is a collection of information chosen by experts on the subject. It provides credible, accurate information that you may or may not get elsewhere on the Internet or in Wikipedia.

Like books, databases are not free – they cost thousands of dollars! However, also like books, the library has paid for them already! That means they are free to you; you just need your public library card or Student ID.

To get started:

  1. Go to library home page: jaxpubliclibrary.org
  2. Click on Research & Learning near the top
  3. Click on Homework Help

The Homework Help page contains links to databases you can use for research projects. It was designed just for students.

Recommended Databases

  • From the Homework Help page, click on ABC-Clio
    • Login: Library Card Barcode or your S + Student ID number (ex: S12345678)
    • ABC-Clio is actually a collection of databases and they are all listed.
    • Pro Tip: When conducting a search, make sure that the “all databases” setting is enabled rather than searching individual databases. Together, these databases cover everything from history to pop culture and current issues.
  • From the Homework Help page, select Opposing Viewpoints in Context
    • Login: Library Card Barcode or your S + Student ID number (ex: S12345678)
    • This is a database of "reliable facts and targeted opinions.” It is meant to assist students in "developing informed conclusions.” It provides views both “for” and “against” many current topics. After analyzing and interpreting this information, you will be able to better express your findings (and viewpoint) in a paper.
    • You can email, save or print the article using the icons at the top.
    • Pro Tip: If you scroll down to the bottom of an article, you’ll find the citation for the source. You can select from MLA, APA, Chicago, and Harvard citation formats.

You may also want to check out Florida’s Newspaper Database for full text articles from Florida-focused journals and newspapers like Jacksonville’s Florida Times-Union.

Another Place to Do Research: Collections

A Digital Library Collection is a collection of library materials that have been digitized (scanned, photographed, etc.) so you can access them from the comfort of your own home. These items can be photos, documents, audio recordings, or video recordings.

Pro Tip: Digital collections are a great place to go if you are looking for historic photographs.

If you are looking for local history, try Jacksonville Public Library’s Digital Collections:

  1. Go to library home page: jaxpubliclibrary.org
  2. Click on Special Collections
  3. Click on Digital Collections
  4. Use the search bar in the upper right hand corner to begin your search

Other Helpful Resources

The Digital Public Library of American (DPLA) is a project aimed at providing public access to digital holdings in order to create a large-scale public digital library. It searches a variety of library digital collections at once, including the National Archives, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Library of Congress. To access, visit: dp.la.

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