Research Databases

These databases can be accessed anywhere in your school or from home by asking your school librarian for the user name and password.

Database Trials

Below is the Database Trial schedule. For each month it includes a database for Elementary/Middle School and a database for High School. Prior to the trial period, Abigail will email everyone with the username and password info. If you would like to suggest other databases, extend a trial, or begin a subscription, please contact Abigail. Click on the database names below to redirect to the trial login during the trial period.



Aside from the well organized and well designed modules on an extensive variety of science topics there are many highlights to this database. Note the experiments section which allows students to complete an experiment in their virtual lab-  measuring chemicals, mixing solutions, recording data etc. (it’s fun!). Take a look at the diagrams section which has printable and very clear explanations of various complicated scientific processes (great to print out and place around the classroom). Finally, be sure to check out the curriculum tools area which has materials for students- like “Writing a Science Research Paper” and a “Science Fair Guide” and materials for educators too. Also note the Science in the News area of their site to tie in current events to what the students are learning about in the classroom.



Bloom’s Literature provides a lot of useful material for those studying literature in depth. Their character analysis section is a great compliment to those libraries who are subscribing to LitCharts this year. The videos of various acted scenes bring some more life into the study of plays, poetry, and great novels. Lastly, studying either authors or specific works using Bloom’s Literature will give the students the material they need to create their own well-informed perspectives- using biographical information, literary criticism, and literary analysis. Also make sure to check out the “Reading to Write” (also called the “How to Write About Entry”) section which guides the students to focus their understanding and how it should be expressed in their writing.



JSTOR provides access to thousands of scholarly journals and now over 2,000 downloadable ebooks as well. A new feature (still in Beta testing) is the ability to upload a document and have it search through its database for relevant articles – this is a great tool for when you have most of your research done but need a few more scholarly resources. All articles are citable, saveable, and shareable, but one thing that is great about it (from an educator’s perspective) is that most, if not all, of the articles are only available as PDFs which means students can’t be tempted into copying and pasting. Their selection of journals is enormous and if you can only afford one scholarly research database this one is likely the most comprehensive at the HS/College Prep level.



The Mailbox, once a popular print magazine for K-6 teachers and educators, now has a fully developed and content-rich website. If you need activity ideas for the holidays or commemorations Mailbox has you covered (and then some!). From games, to science projects, to behavior management tools (all printable materials by the way) The Mailbox has an amazingly diverse and robust level of resources for all your teachers. To use the Collections and Lesson Plan areas of the site (which helps teachers keep the materials they find organized) each interested teacher would subscribe to their own account.



For something different this month, try rewarding your students who complete their classroom tasks with some quiet time using Muzzy- a language learning tool for both readers and non-readers in grades K-8. Using animated cartoons, the Muzzy system uses the Language Immersion method and is fun for kids to explore and become comfortable with foreign languages. English is one of the languages offered as well, so this could be a great tool for your ESL learners.

November – TBD

December – TBD

January – TBD

February – TBD

March – TBD

April – TBD

May – TBD

How to Research

Learning how to research increases critical thinking, helps prepare for higher education and the workforce, and drastically improves the overall quality of your work.


Research Guides
CRLS Research Guide Basic Steps in the Research Process
ipl2 for Teens A+ Research & Writing: Step by Step
Kentucky Virtual Library How to Do Research
Duke University Libraries Research Guide

Evaluating Your Sources

Not everything we find in print and electronic format are appropriate sources of information. Three examples that illustrate this point are:


1.) Inappropriate Types of Sources
If you were writing a paper about Mount Kilimanjaro, you would not cite an article about pitcher R. A. Dickey’s recent expedition in Sports Illustrated.
2.) Obsolete Information
A book published in 1980 about laser surgery will not provide you with sufficiently useful data on this procedure the way it is implemented today.
3.) Misleading or Amateur Authors
Some people think they are experts when in reality they are not qualified to publish certain materials. Other people purposely publish misleading and/or false information in the name of a political or other type of motivation.

How do we avoid using these improper sources? Train yourself to question everything you read, view and hear. Try exploring any of these links to see why and how you should be critical:
Purdue University Online Writing Lab Evaluating Sources: Overview
University of California Berkeley Library Critical Evaluation of Resources
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Writing Center Evaluating Print Sources
Cornell University Library Critically Analyzing Information Sources
University of Georgia Online Library Learning Center Unit 9: Evaluating Sources

Citing Your Sources

Citing your sources or references is of the utmost importance- how else can you prove that the information you are using is true?


The two main styles of citation used in schools are MLA and APA format. Typically, every school district only uses one of these two styles. Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab (OWL) provides a wealth of information about both APA and MLA formatting:

APA Formatting and Style Guide
MLA Formatting and Style Guide
MLA Citation Basics, 7th Edition (.pdf)

Still a little confused about where that comma goes or what needs to be capitalized? Enlist the aid of these free online citation generators:

Points of View

Biography Reference

Academic Research

Science Reference

Explora Primary

Explora Secondary

Primary Magazines

Middle Magazines

Business Guides

History Reference

Novelist K-8


Literary Reference

Teacher Reference

Reference Latina

These resources are provided by the State Library of New Jersey to members of the BELS Consortium