Skip to main content

Media Center

Go Search
History Fair
Media Center > History Fair Research Guide  

History Fair Research Guide

Modify settings and columns

Research Tips for History Fair


Updated 9/2/16

General Information

The Unity Point library is open during DPA times on Mondays and Thursdays, study hall Monday through Friday, and until 3:30 every day. You are welcomed and encouraged to come in and work on your research for history fair or any other assignment; I will be available if you need help.

As you are doing your research, you may have to check for a broader topic as well as your specific topic, such as French explorers in addition to DuSable, or civil rights in addition to Emmett Till. Once you have a book in hand, check the index and table of contents for your specific topic. There may be only one paragraph in a book about your topic, but it may give you valuable information! Also, when searching a person’s name, use LAST, FIRST.

The earlier you request books from other libraries, the better your chances are of getting them in time to use. In order to avoid serving detention for having overdue books, including interlibrary loan books, PAY ATTENTION TO DUE DATES.

I have a wand scanner that you may use to digitize photos, pamphlets, photos in books, etc.

For help in citing sources and formatting a bibliography, use this site from Purdue University’s online writing lab (MLA):


1. Search on SHARE from any internet computer to see what is available through the Illinois Heartland Library System, which holds more than 10,000,000 items. Many school (including Unity Point), public (including Carbondale Public Library) and community college (including John A. Logan) libraries in the southern half of Illinois belong to this consortium, which is the largest library consortium in the U.S.  The SHARE link is on the library media center web page. Use your library user name and password to sign into your SHARE account. Books will be delivered to you here at school on Mondays and Wednesdays. The URL fo the SHARE catalog is


2. Check back issues of the Southern Illinoisan at Morris Library. They are on microfilm—allow a lot of time for searching; the more specific the date you search, the better results you will have. Back issues of other Illinois newspapers are also available. You may make photocopies at the library for a fee. Do not hesitate to ask library personnel for assistance.

3.  Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections at is a free online archive of digitized historic newspapers and trade journals organized in four different collections. The IDNC offers a modern and user-friendly way to access unique research tools and engage with the past.

4.  Check subjects of back issues of Springhouse Magazine at:; they can be ordered if needed.

5.  To check for primary sources, check out the Library of Congress web site at The American Memory section is being phased out.

6. Another place to check for primary sources: The Illinois Digital Archives at

7. For basic information about History Fair, National History Day, and information about the 22 historic sites maintained by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, go to They also list publications which may be helpful to you, and the Student Handbook is available in PDF format.

8. Check the National Register of Historic Places at  if your topic is a place or related to a place. The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.

9. Jon Musgrave’s site at may give you some basic information which will help you in other searches.


10.  Try to find a museum or historical society that would have information about your topic; consult Folks who work at museums and historical societies are thrilled when students ask for information or assistance.

11. Jackson County Historical Society has a wealth of photographs and primary sources which they will help you access. They are at 1616 Edith Street, Murphysboro, IL 62966. Their number is 684-6989 and their hours are Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 12:00-3:00 p.m.; Thursdays 6:30-9:00 p.m., or call to make an appointment.