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 usually our 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.
Internet Public Library – Online portal run by librarians that organizes a huge variety of reliable information from around the internet for your entertainment and research needs. Check out the sections for kids and teens or browse by subject and special collections. You’ll find links to some of these special collections in some of the other sections on this page.
CLP’s Teen Links: Homework – Find library and internet resources for English & Language Arts, Foreign Languages, History & Social Studies, and Math & Science.
EBSCO eBooks – Collection of ebooks, primarily nonfiction. You’ll need to sign in with your library card to access this resource.
Newspapers, Magazines, and Journals:
Note – you’ll need to sign in with your library card to access all of these resources.
Primary Search – Contains the full-text for more than 80 of the most popular elementary school magazines. All full-text articles are assigned a reading level indicator (Lexiles). Also, features Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia, providing students with easy-to-read encyclopedic entries written specifically for kids.
Middle Search Plus – Full text for a variety of popular middle school magazines. All full-text articles are assigned a reading level indicator (Lexiles). Full text is also available for thousands of biographies and historical essays.
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.”
MasterFILE Complete – Contains full text for nearly 2,200 periodicals covering general reference, business, health, education, general science, multicultural issues and much more.
SIRS Discoverer – Provides carefully selected full text articles and images from over 1600 domestic and international newspapers, magazines, and government documents.
Newspaper Source Plus – Provides more than 1,000 full-text newspapers, providing more than 39 million full-text articles. This database contains comprehensive full text for major newspapers and more than 1,111,000 TV & radio news transcripts. Updated daily.
Literature and Writing:
Contemporary Authors – Biographical coverage of more than 100,000 writers, entries on contemporary authors. You’ll need to sign in with your library card to access this resource.
Literature Resource Center – Author information, literary criticism and plot summaries for authors from every age and literary discipline. You’ll need to sign in with your library card to access this resource.
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.
US History in Context – One-stop source for U.S. including primary documents, full-text articles, images, maps and more. You’ll need to sign in with your library card to access this resource.
World History in Context – One-stop source for world history, including primary documents, full-text articles, images, maps and more. You’ll need to sign in with your library card to access this resource.
Biography in Context – Comprehensive database of biographical information. Includes full text biographical articles from many popular magazines. You’ll need to sign in with your library card to access this resource.
Opposing Viewpoints in Context – Full text of books that cover both sides of social issues. You’ll need to sign in with your library card to access this resource.
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.