Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Every year secondary students do projects for National History Day. There is no limit as to country or time period, but each year there is a theme. This year's theme is "Triumph & Tragedy". Primary sources are an important part of National History Day projects. Thanks to the Internet, more primary sources are accessible than ever before. The official National History Day web site has a Research Central section which lists primary source web sites.

The online database Discovering Collection contains 500+ primary source documents, including images, audio & video clips. Searches can be limited to "primary documents". Masterfile Premiere has 88,000 primary documents. One tip with Masterfile is to sort a long list of items by relevance rather than the default setting by date, since currency is less important with historical research. Students may want to try Masterfile's "Visual Search" option as an alternative search method. Categories are represented by circles and articles by rectangles. It does not allow limiting to primary sources, however.

The Minnesota Digital Library now contains 11,500 objects, including documents as well as images, from 65 Minnesota institutions. It includes advanced search options and a teacher's guide.

The University of Minnesota has its own Research Guide and encourages class visits as long as preliminary search in MNCAT is done first. One new source is Remembering the Holocaust, the world's largest archive of visual histories of the Holocaust.

For students who don't know where to start, MINITEX & MNLink have come up with the Research Project Calculator, which breaks the process down into steps. The student types in the class, format (essay, Powerpoint, or video) and due date.

For further information, there is a handout in the "FYI" basket.


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