The librarians at Rutgers University Libraries are happy to welcome National History day students and assist them with their research. The guidelines and information below are intended to enhance the experience of students, teachers, and library staff, and make the best use of our resources in the time available during a class visit.
Research for National History Day at Rutgers University Libraries
There are three kinds of resources available to your students at the Rutgers University Libraries: online databases, printed and microform resources in our general collections, and materials in Special Collections and University Archives. Probably all of your students will find useful sources in the first two categories. A librarian can meet with your students in a “smart classroom” equipped with PCs, show them how to search effectively online for both primary and secondary sources, then help them research their projects on their own or in teams.
The resources--both primary and secondary-- in Special Collections and University Archives (SC/UA) are more limited in scope. SC/UA is particularly strong in the history of the state of New Jersey. Because it is specialized, SC/UA may be useful for only a small number of your students. To find out more about primary sources at SC/UA please visit SC/UA's National History Day site, which includes guidelines for students and teachers.
Guidelines for class visits to Alexander Library
- Rutgers University Libraries and Special Collections and University Archives (SC/UA) cannot accommodate more than thirty students at one time. We are afraid that there are no exceptions to this rule.
- Since spots are limited, reservations for class visits are made on a first-come, first-served basis. Students, teachers, and parents are free to come on their own time.
- At certain times of the year, the Alexander Library Information Handling Labs may be reserved for Rutgers undergraduate classes and will not be able to accommodate National History Day students. From early November onwards, more spots are available for class visits. Please make your reservations early.
- Please send a list of students' research topics at least one week before your planned visit. Teachers with students wishing to view materials at SC/UA should request these at least one week in advance.
- Please bring at least one chaperone per ten students with you when your class visits. When students go to the book stacks and other areas in the building, they must be accompanied by an adult.
- Encourage your students to use available secondary sources before visiting the library. Greater familiarity with the topic will enhance their research experience.
- Research is time-consuming. Please try to maximize the time that your students spend at the library, bearing in mind that traffic is heavy in the New Brunswick area and you may need extra time for your journey.
General collections and online resources
- National History Day
- National History Day-New Jersey
- Guide to National History Day resources developed by our colleague at Paul Robeson Library, Camden
Rutgers Research Guides
N.B. Databases listed under "primary sources" that indicate" Rutgers restricted" are only available from Rutgers libraries.
- American Memory- text, image sound from the Library of Congress
- Chronicling America- hundreds of newspapers, 1789-1925
- Chonicling America--topics by subject-newspaper articles about a range of topics widely covered in the American press of the time
- HathiTrust Digital Library- including full-text through 1923; bigger, easier to search than Google Books
- JerseyClicks- suite of free databases from the State Library; includes EBSCO’s Academic Search Premiere (public library card needed to log in)
- WorldCat- search library catalogs across the world
- National Archives- National History Day online research tools
- Smithsonian Learning Lab- online primary and secondary sources from many different institutions
How to optimize students' time at Alexander Library
Your students will have a relatively limited amount of time for research during your visit. Please encourage them to collect as many potential sources as possible while they are here. This means that they should not spend too much time reading or analyzing the sources they find; they can do that later. The most effective strategy is to gather as much as possible that might be relevant and decide later what they will use for their projects.