Locating resources: Here you will learn how to find the best sources and where to find them.

Types of sources:
Locations to find sources:


Getting started…


Library Media Specialists and librarians are information specialists who can help you direct your research.  They can help you make the best use of the resources available: books, interlibrary loans, encyclopedias, electronic databases, and recommended websites.  Take time to explore your library’s website where you will find the library’s catalog and a variety of electronic sources selected by librarian’s for their quality.


Resist the temptation to do all your research on the internet.  Quality research requires the use of formally published sources (books and articles).  Your school library and your local public library will have books and electronic databases which contain published articles for your research. 




Books are the best sources for:


  • in-depth coverage on a particular topic.
  • information written by specialists who have done extensive research.
  • information that does not have to be very current (always check the copyright date). 
  • information logically and coherently arranged with an index and a table of contents.  

A good strategy for locating the best books for your research:


Begin your research at your school’s library. See Student Resources on the right to access your school’s online catalog. Talk with the library media specialist if you cannot locate a book.  It may be that you need to change the words you are using to locate books on your topic.  


If your school library does not have a useful book for your research needs, explore your local public library. See Student Resources on the right to access Saint Helena Public Library’s online catalog. 


Google Books is another great tool for finding books on almost any topic.  Google Books gives you the option of buying the book or better yet, finding the book in the closest library.  Talk to your library media specialist about arranging an interlibrary loan. Many of these books will be online as well.


Google books


You can't go wrong with a good well-researched book on your topic!




An encyclopedia is a set of books that contain information about many different subjects. Because the amount of information cannot all be put into one book, it is divided into many smaller books. Each book is called a volume. The volumes in each set are arranged in alphabetical order to make it easy to find the information. They are also numbered to make it easy to keep them in order on the shelf.  Encyclopedias are available online.

Encyclopedias are a good source for:


  • a short general overview of a topic to scan for background information.
  • answers to specific factual questions.
  • information written by specialists who know their subject.
  • information that does not have to be very current (always check the copyright date).
  • NOTE: Online encyclopedias will be more current than print encyclopedias.

Many teachers recommend that you start your research by reading an encyclopedia article on your topic to get a good overview of the topic. Encyclopedia articles may not, however, be used for some assignments as a source on your Works Cited page. Be sure to clarify this with your teacher.


Smithsonian                  Worldbook Online




Magazine and newspaper articles are great sources for:


  • information on popular "hot' topics.
  • information on current events.
  • articles written by professional journalists who have done research.
  • local news and information.
  • very current information.
  • a focus on  a narrow part of a larger topic.
  • Examples of events or people in the news that help make research clearer.  

Using databases is an easy and efficient way to locate periodicals!




Your school library and local public library have access to databases that can lead you to articles in newspapers, magazines, and scholarly or technical journals. A database is a storage place for information. This information is categorized by key words, subject terms, authors, titles, etc. which makes locating specific information very easy.


Some databases cover multiple subjects:

EBSCO and the SNAP Databases contain periodical articles, government documents, pamphlets, and other types of information on a variety of subjects.  You can access these databases on the right under Student Resources. You will need a local public library card or an e-card. 


            Apply for an e-card

Other databases cover one subject in-depth: 

Your school subscribes to the following subject databases: Modern World History, American History, Bloom’s Literary Reference, and Ancient Civilizations.  You can access these databases on the right under Student Resources. See your library media specialist for the passwords. 




The internet can be a useful tool for finding:


  • information that is really hard to find anywhere else (obscure topics).
  • the very latest information on a topic (always check the dates posted).
  • opinions from different people or organizations about a topic.
  • a great variety of information from people, businesses, organizations and even some reference books.

When you use the Internet, you should always try to find out who posted the information and how much they know about the topic. Are they experts in their field or are they students? Are they giving facts or their own opinion?


See Beyond Surfing, Intelligent Research for more information on evaluating websites.



Printable PDF's: 

Student Resources

RLS Library catalog
RLS Library Catalog

SH Public Library 

St Helena Public Library


 EbscoHost Database
American History, Pop Culture, Daily Life, Ancient Civilization, and MORE
World Book
World Book
Google Book Search

              Google Books



Citation Generator



Last Modified on December 9, 2014