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History Day Research @ the College of Southern Maryland Library: Step 3: Search

A guide to assist in your research for National History Day.

Call Numbers for Browsing History Subjects in the CSM Bookstacks

World History 
Book call numbers beginning with D.

U.S. History 
Book call numbers beginning with E & F.

Useful Terms

Primary Source - Materials from the time of the person or event being researched.  (Letters, diaries artifacts, photographs, and other types of first-hand accounts and records, as well as reminiscences and oral histories. Stories from newspapers of the time may also be primary sources.)

Secondary Source - Materials that were created at a later time.  They analyze and interpret primary sources; footnotes or bibliographies can lead to primary sources.

Still confused about Primary vs. Secondary Sources?  Check out a short video tutorial!


Library Books!

Search for print books, audiobooks, videos, and music

Search Titles Search Authors Search Subjects Search Keywords Search Series
Advanced Search

To search by topic enter your search terms in the search box and click the Keyword button. Examples of search terms:


civil rights movement


teenagers and depression

physical fitness


  can point you to other interesting resources related to your search within CSM Libraries.

 can be for these types of information:

  • Subjects covered in the book
  • Other books written by the same author(s)
  • Books in the same series

Look for  in the Explore! section.  

The CSM library uses Call Numbers to organize books on the shelves.

Call Numbers are a book's shelf address. The combination of letters and numbers tells you where to find it in the library.

When you look up a book on the CSM library web site, you'll find the Call Number on the book info page. Write down this number and match it up with label on the book on the shelf. For example, the Call Number for the book Walden by Henry David Thoreau is PS 3048 .A1 1942.

If you need help finding a book, ask a librarian!


Credo Reference

The professor approved alternative to Wikipedia.

Credo Reference provides access to 3,457,271 full text articles in 832 reference books from 109 publishers. Credo believes that everyone deserves the ability to learn and the opportunity to succeed. Credo promotes knowledge building, problem solving and critical thinking to give people the information skills necessary for success throughout their academic, professional and personal lives. 

From the Credo website:

We currently find ourselves in an era of unprecedented access to Information, however successfully navigating this ocean of data requires a strong foundation of information literacy skills. Unfortunately, the information skills of the average individual are often lacking. For example, 56% of high school graduates don’t know how to do research.1 At the same time, 61% of college students use Wikipedia for research even though just 24% of them believe that it is a trustworthy source.2 This extends beyond the classroom77% of employees feel that finding and using information is an essential part of their everyday work.3 Most surprising of all: nearly a third of all U.S. citizens do not know how to use the Internet! 4

1 Achieve, Inc. (2005). Rising to the challenge: Are high school graduates prepared for college and work? Retrieved from
2 McKiel, A.W. (2012). 2011 Global student e-book survey. Retrieved from

3 Travis, T. (2011) From the classroom to the boardroom: The impact of information literacy instruction on workplace research skills. Education Libraries, 34. Retrieved from

4 United States Department of Commerce. (2011). Fact sheet: Digital literacy. Retrieved from

Recommended Databases for History Day

CREDO Reference Database contains 801 searchable online reference books.

Encyclopedia Britannica Online Academic Edition brings together the world-renowned content of the encyclopedia, with the speed and convenience of the Internet.

ImageQuest contains millions of rights-cleared images from one trusted online site.

Newspapers and Magazines

NewspapersThe New York TimesBaltimore SunChristian Science MonitorWall Street Journal, and the Washington Post.


Search The Nation, America's oldest weekly magazine.

The Nation 1865-present

Database searching: Academic content