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Florida History Fair: Resources

This guide points to many great places and resources to find primary and secondary sources for the Florida History Fair




Welcome!  This guide aims to help you find resources at FSU and beyond to assist you with your Florida History Fair Project (which is part of the Florida Contest affiliated with National History Day).

One very important resource is the Florida History Fair site where you can check the guidelines and deadlines as well as get ideas for your project.

Other helpful resources include this website provided by the Florida Memory Project (part of the Florida State Library) dedicated to the Florida History Fair and the Florida Electronic Library (which provides access to various online library catalogs and databases, which connect you to electronic resources such as eBooks, journal articles, and other reference materials).

If you need additional research help, please feel free to use the "Ask a Librarian!" chat box on the right-hand side of this page. 

Identifying and Locating Sources

There are various ways to identify and locate primary & secondary sources:

  • Talk to someone who knows about your topic -- they may know good resources.
  • Use tertiary sources like subject encyclopedias and dictionaries to provide the necessary background information to begin your research, for example they provide information on key people, places, events which you can use as search terms. Many entries also include a list of major books on the topic. 
  • Once you've found a relevant secondary source, check that source's bibliography to identify more secondary or primary sources.
  • Search library catalogs and databases.  Use subject headings* from secondary sources you've already used to find similar resources. Libraries use Library of Congress (LC) Subject Headings - Note the relevant LC subject headings for your topic.
  • Browse the library shelves where you have located other useful materials to see what's nearby.

Primary vs. Secondary Sources

  Primary Source Secondary Source
  • Sources that are first-hand, direct, or original
    • Usually created by anyone who experienced or witnessed an event
  • Sources created using primary sources as references or inspirations
    • Can be an interpretation or commentary that expands on a primary source
  • Diaries
  • Letters
  • Photographs
  • Autobiographies
  • Speeches
  • Works of art -- sculptures, paintings, etc.
  • Plays
  • Recordings
  • Period newspaper or periodical articles.
  • Articles in journals, magazines, or newspapers
    • e.g., an article that analyzes a diary entry created by Anne Frank
  • Books
    • e.g., a book that comments and expands upon specific works of art made in the 1920s 

Need further clarification on what the difference is between primary and secondary sources?

  • LEARN NC provides a guide on how to approach and analyze primary sources. 
  • Ithaca College Library offers definitions and examples of what primary and secondary sources are by format. 
  • BMCC Library also offers a fantastic guide that defines and provides specific examples concerning primary and secondary sources, as well as offers a list of websites that offers primary sources.
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