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.


Classroom Video on Demand and Learn360

FactsonFile has two video collections. Classroom Video on Demand is geared towards HS students and has around 25,500 videos, while Learn360 includes K-8 videos and includes roughly 23,000 videos. Attached below are the content lists for each product so you can get a general sense of the overlap. A nice feature in FoF video products is that you can cut segments from videos and save them to a folder and embed them or share them to your students (think Google Classroom). Most videos come along with a video transcript which is helpful for those who are hearing impaired, when it’s difficult to follow the speaker’s accent, when there are complicated terms used, or for ESL students. Video playback speed can be adjusted which is helpful in these situations as well. To find content, you can browse by subject or search by NJ state standards (click the hyperlink for your chosen standard and it will return all applicable results). FoF content includes interactive activities like science experiments in a virtual lab, integrated “live” quizzes, and learning games (see World Cup Math for a great example). Learn360 is $1.25 a  student and pricing for BELS members is at 20% off your total. Classroom Video on Demand ranges from $636 for up to 500 students to $1,276 for up to 2000 (these prices are with the 20% BELS discount). (Trial ends 12/12)


BookFlix is a unique product from Scholastic that pairs a work of fiction with a related non-fiction item. For example, a non-fiction book about Pluto will be paired with a picture book called Shrinking Violet, a story about a girl in her school performance playing the role of Lady Space. Each pairing includes the book in a “read along” format, as well as interactive puzzles, biographical information about the author, and links to explore on the web with activities and “hot topics.” Each pairing has a lesson plan and curriculum connections. This is a great tool for introducing children to the differences between fiction and non-fiction and other other aspects of information literacy. Over 120 pairings of materials for grades Pre-K-3 (along with over 30 Spanish language pairings) on a wide variety of topics make this a resource that is very worthwhile to explore. (Trial ends 12/15)
Digital Literacy
For anyone who is focusing their media center lessons on Digital Citizenship, this is an essential resource. There is a well-developed section on content creation, which is an aspect of Digital Citizenship that focuses less on “scare tactics” and more on participating in the digital environment in a productive and creative way. Be sure to visit the Teacher/Librarian resources section for a variety of great lesson plans in this area. The content on this database is extensive, ranging from articles on savvy (and safe) internet shopping, to what a job as a network Engineer entails. The broad topic areas are Cyberbullying, Communication, Social Media, Privacy and Ethics, Research Skills, Digital Age Tools, Careers and Entrepreneurship, Internet Biographies, and Gaming. (Trial ends 12/30)
Teen Health and Wellness 
Recently updated, Teen Health and Wellness has been given a new look which makes the content more appealing to teens. The topics covered here are extensive, and address everything you would expect of a teen health resource, from eating disorders to family issues. Teens can read the stories of other teens on the site and even enter their own story (first name published only) and be awarded a content contribution certificate and Barnes and Noble gift card. Dr. Jan, a licensed psychologist, answers teen questions in his column – a much better option than teens picking up random advice in a public forum. This is a really wonderful resource and something I would imagine a PTA or the counseling department might find worth sponsoring if your library doesn’t have the funds at hand right now. (Trial ends 12/30)

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