Citing Sources in NHD® Papers
Currently, students have two options when it comes to how they would like to cite their sources: Turabian or MLA style. Historians use Turabian because it allows the writer to acknowledge their sources by using footnotes found at the bottom of page, which helps not to disrupt the flow of the paper. That being said, we know that many classes in middle school and high school teach the MLA style and many students may find using it to be more comfortable. It does not matter which of these two styles you use, but it is important to be consistent. There are a multitude of resources available online and at your local library to assist you in abiding by the particular standards of each.
When do you need a citation?
You need a citation for:
- Direct quotations
- Opinions, judgments, or insights of others that you summarize or paraphrase
- Information not widely known
- Information that is open to dispute or not commonly accepted
- Tables, charts, graphs, or statistics taken from another source
You do not need a citation for:
- Your own ideas, observations, and conclusions
- Common knowledge, like facts readily available in many reference works
- Familiar quotations like “Early to bed and early to rise make a man healthy, wealthy, and wise,” can be attributed to Benjamin Franklin without indicating source
Where should the citation go?
In regards to papers using MLA style for their citations place a citation as close to the quoted or paraphrased material as possible without disrupting the sentence. When material from one source and the same page numbers is used throughout a paragraph, use one citation at the end of the paragraph rather than a citation at the end of each sentence.
Parenthetical citations usually appear after the final quotation mark and before the period. An exception occurs, however, in quotes of four or more lines since these quotes are presented as block quotes: that is they are indented and use no quotation marks. In such cases, the parenthetical citation goes at the end of the block quote after the period.
When it comes to papers using Turabian style citations, allow your word processor to insert the footnote for you. You can find the “insert footnote” button in the reference section of the menu, however you can also find instructions for your particular processor by using the help menu.
The first time that you use a source in a footnote, the authors name, the title of the book/article, the basic publishing information, as well as the page or page range where the quote is found should be included. It should look similar to but not exactly like what one might find in their bibliography. Here is an example of a footnote from a book on Theodore Roosevelt:
 Edmund Morris, Theodore Rex (New York: Modern Library, 2001), 177.
Going forward, if you would use another quote from the same work, you would not need to put all the same information again. This shortened footnote should just include the author’s last name, the title of the book and the page number/range where the information was found. Here is an example of a shortened footnote from the same source above:
 Morris, Theodore Rex, 178.
Citing sources in other NHD® Projects
When it comes to students who are entering exhibits, websites, documentaries, or performing, there are some important tips that pertain specifically for your project to go over.
- Brief citations do NOT count towards your word count. However, if you decide to add analysis to your citation, this will count toward your word limit.
- You do NOT need to cite during your presentation (documentaries and performances). This will disrupt the flow of your project and is unnecessary since all your source information will be found in your bibliography.
- For documentaries, you will not be required to cite images as they appear on the screen, though the name of the individual, place, or thing is acceptable and also helpful to your viewers. Relevant source information for anything included to make your documentary should be listed at the end. This is not a repeat of your bibliography, just the audio and visual aids that were used.
An annotated bibliography is required for all categories. The annotations for each source must explain how the source was used and how it helped you to better understand your topic. You should also use the annotation to explain why you categorized a particular source as primary or secondary. Sources of visual materials and oral interviews, if used, must be included.
Using Rare Materials
There is real excitement in tracking down information in old documents. You will find that the special collections library research for your National History Day® project is part detective work and part treasure hunt.
With a little information and some advance planning, you can be researching with the best of them. Here are ten tips to help you research like a pro at your very first visit.
Planning Your Visit
1. Research the library on the web and call, if necessary, before you go. Identify yourself as a National History Day® student.
- Search for materials related to your topic on the library’s online catalog. But remember, some libraries don’t have records for all of their materials in their electronic catalogs. Look for web pages with titles such as “collection description” or “finding aids” – these will tell you more about materials in the library’s collection. Looking at their online exhibitions or digital materials will also help.
- Check to see if there are age restrictions. Some libraries will not allow users under a certain age, and others require younger users to be accompanied by an adult. Many libraries require a photo ID for admittance.
- Find out if laptops are permitted. Many libraries allow this and even have electrical outlets in the center of the tables.
- Read through the library’s other policies – hours, photocopies, limits on how many items you may consult at one time, etc. Many special collections libraries are not open evenings or weekends,; others have only limited evening/weekend hours.
- If the library’s hours are “open by appointment,” or if they ask users to set up an appointment, e-mail or telephone the library with your request.
2. Allow plenty of time for your research.
- It takes longer to work with special collections materials than with books that you can pull off your regular library’s shelves. If the materials you are working with are old or fragile, it will take you longer to handle them properly, to decipher faded or unusual handwriting, or to follow old-fashioned ways of phrasing things. It will also take more time for you to get materials or arrange for photocopies than you may be used to.
At the Library
3. Bring the appropriate ID and/or adult; be prepared to sign in and to be asked to put your things in a locker.
- Special collections libraries contain rare and unique materials, which are more valuable than ordinary books and magazines. Unfortunately, this makes theft a problem. Small books or important documents can be easily slipped into a jacket, a purse, or a notebook. Most special collections libraries will require you to put these personal possessions into a locker and will only let you bring a small notebook into the library. Some will also check this notebook as you leave.
4. Bring pencils, writing paper, and eraser and money for photocopies.
- Most of these items are self-explanatory, but why pencils? Most special collections libraries do not allow you to use pens because of the danger of accidentally marking a book or manuscript. The librarian can provide you with a pencil if you forget yours, but you may want to bring a mechanical pencil so that you don’t need to make trips to the pencil sharpener.
5. Talk with a reference librarian about your project.
- Whether you have made a reference appointment in advance or not, it’s a good idea to talk with one of the reference staff about your project. He or she may be able to suggest sources that you might not find on your own, and give you tips on how to use the online catalog, a card catalog, or a manuscript finding aid. In some cases, you may also be referred to other special collections libraries in the area.
6. Be prepared to fill out requests for materials and to wait until the librarian can get them.
- Special collections librarians are different than your local library. After you consult the catalog or finding aid to find the “call number” of the materials you want, you must fill out a call slip. The librarian will then bring you the materials. (Librarians call these requests “paging requests” and they call the process of getting the materials “paging.”) Many libraries will let you consult materials in the reference section or look at items on display while you wait.
- You may be assigned a specific seat in the reading room. If this is the case, be sure to note your seat number so that you can include this on the call slip.
7. Learn how to handle fragile items.
- You may be asked to put on special white gloves to handle certain materials, such as photographs, or even some books and manuscripts. This is to keep the oils on your hands from damaging the materials.
- If you are consulting a fragile book or a bound manuscript, you may be given a book support or “cradle” to help protect and support the book. You may also be provided with a “snake,” which is a velvet tube filled with buckshot, to help to keep pages open.
- Library staff will almost certainly instruct you in the way to handle your materials and to use book supports and snakes, but if you have any doubts, don’t hesitate to ask! They will respect your desire to help care for their special collections by handling library materials properly.
8. Be prepared: Photocopies are rarely self-service, and some things can’t be photocopied.
- Special collections libraries hardly ever have self-service photocopying. Be sure to ask about the procedure for requesting photocopies, and how long it will take, when you hand in your call slips. Depending on how busy a library is when you visit, you may have to return another day for your copies, or arrange to have them mailed to you. Photocopies are sometimes more expensive in special collections libraries, because they must be copied by trained staff on special copiers that help to protect old and fragile books and manuscripts.
- Some materials are too fragile to be photocopied at all. You can ask about having them photographed, but this will be expensive and will take time. If you have items photographed, you will probably also have to sign papers, saying that you understand how you may use the photographs.
9. Be sure your notes include everything you will need for your bibliography.
- Before going to the library, check with your instructor about how to refer to rare and unique materials in your bibliography. Then, be sure that you have noted everything about the library materials that you will need. It’s very easy to get so wrapped up in your research that you forget this important step, especially when you are working with new kinds of materials
10. One last thing: Be a considerate researcher.
- If you stop to think about it, common sense will tell you that there are two important things that make a considerate researcher.
- One is taking steps to protect the rare, unique, and fragile items you will be consulting. This means no food, no drink, no gum, no ink – and of course careful handling.
- The second is taking steps to be considerate of other users. Many public libraries these days are more relaxed about noise and distraction than in the past, but a special collections library is still a place where most users are serious researchers, and they may have trouble ignoring background noise. Try to keep noise to a minimum (leave your Walkman or iPod in your locker).
- Leave your cell phone and pager in your locker as well, or turn it to vibrate and don’t answer it in the reading room. If you receive an important call or message, go to a public area or outside the building to return the call.