Library Noise

Research Tips & Library News from the Bishop England High School Library

Easy, Useful Research Sites

sitesThis is the post where I contradict myself and recommend websites for research.

Yes, databases are almost always your best bet for good research sources but there are some excellent websites that I use as go-to sources too.

Here are some of my favorites…

New York Times Topics – Current events, biographies, history, literature, science news, country data — you’ll find it all here in an easily browsable list of topics. Most include newspaper coverage, links to additional websites and articles, some primary sources and, often, video and images. Perfect place to start research on almost any subject.

BBC World History – Good source for world history, British literature, ancient history and biographies of world leaders. Just click on the tab for your topic to find excellent background information.

British Library – We do a lot of research on British authors here. If you want background information, this is a great place to start.

MedlinePlus – Need health information? Start here and avoid all the pseudo-science and junky sites on the open web.

Encyclopedia of Earth – If you need science information, use this online encyclopedia for background on environmental science, biology, chemistry, physics, health information, and much more.

homework help
BE Library Homework Help

BEHS Library Site – Of course, I have to recommend the BE Library! You’ll find links to all of the above sites either on the RESEARCH page or the HOMEWORK HELP page, plus some handy search engines and other resources too.

Obviously, there are many more good, specialized research sites — JSTOR has a nice Shakespeare site; is great for political coverage; UH-Digital History supplies excellent overviews of U.S. history; the Perry-Castañeda Library (UT-Austin) has links to almost every map you’ll ever need — but where to stop? What are your favorite research sites?


I’ll Have a Video with a Side Order of Quizzes


Add Quizzes & Notes to Video

If you’re looking for a free, easy-to-use web-based tool that will add quizzes, notes or images to YouTube or Vimeo videos, then Zaption is for you. Both teachers and students will like its easy interface and sharing tools.

Zaption: interactive videoTo use Zaption, all you do is upload a video then drag and drop quizzes, images, notes and more to any point in the video. Actually, you don’t even have to upload anything if you’d rather not because Zaption also has a gallery of video tours you can use. So simple you can have a finished product ready to go within 10-15 minutes.

To get started, go to and register for a free account (or a paid account with more features). Next click on “New Tour” (videos are called tours), upload a video and get going. If you want, you can trim the video to the length you want or you can just insert a quiz or two. Get help from the Zaption Help Center, including this 4-minute how to get started video:


More Tools

Interested in more interactive quiz tools?

FlipQuiz — Create Jeopardy-style quizzes. Great for exam review!

PBS Learning Media — gives you a choice to 1) upload a video then add text slides to create a story board or 2) create an online quiz mixed with slides.

LessonPaths — allows you to create a step-by-step lesson for student. You can include quizzes along with uploaded video, images, pdfs and more. See an example here.TedEd Create a Lesson

TedEd — helps you build a lesson around an existing TED Talk, TedEd or YouTube video by adding quizzes and notes.

Even More…

None of these working for you? Ask me for more ideas or look here! Have some suggestions? I’d love to hear them–please add them in a comment.

Fantasy, History, Geometry, Popularity — Take Your Pick!

Lots of new books in the BEHS Library for you to check out! funreading

In the mood for fun? Here’s some to try:

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab — fantasy, magic, suspense, heroes, non-heroes — it’s all seriously good fun. If you like magical worlds plus a bit of mystery mixed with magic, you won’t be able to put this one down.

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen — also fantasy, also amazingly good, but a very different story. This one is about a young queen trying to take back her kingdom. There’s magic, there’s suspense, there’s some interesting flashbacks to another world, and there’s a lot of good reading.

Popular, a Memoir: How a Geek in Pearls Discovered the Secret to Confidence by Maya Van Wagenen. This one is a true story that hits at every teen fantasy–becoming popular. Maya runs across an old manners guide from the 1950s in a thrift shop. Inspired by the book and her somewhat dismal social status, she decides to spend a year of her life following the manual to see if she can become “popular.” Her results are often funny and sometimes awkward but, through it all, she learns that she has more confidence than she thought, that kindness leads to friendship and that dressing in pearls actually can be fun. Highly recommended!

If it’s school work you’re looking for, we also have you covered! So many new books to help with any subject, whether it’s math, science, history or english. Plus we have all the classics too. Check them all out in the Library Catalog or ask Ms. Bing for help.

Here are some you might want to ask about:nonfiction

The History of Western Architecture and other books on history

Painless Algebra, Fractions and other math books

AP Exam Guides (Physics, Calculus, Biology & more)

Career books of all types

Poetry for Students and a ton of other books about literature



Researching an Author? We Have You Covered

If you’re researching literature–authors, novels, plays, poems, literary genres, anything literary–the BEHS Library is an excellent place to start. Here are a few choices:


  1. PRINT BOOKS! So easy to use, so easy to find, and filled with information. Ask Ms. Bing, search the BEHS Library Catalog, or go straight to the literature reference section in the library.

  2. DISCUS! Whether you use Literary Reference Center, Bloom’s Literature, MasterFILE Premier or another database in DISCUS, you’ll get an MLA citation with every article and you’ll find key requirements for good research:
      • Authoritative sources
      • Knowledgeable authors
      • Peer-reviewed and/or editor-reviewed articles
      • Comprehensive background information

  3. JSTOR! JSTOR gives you all the key research needs that DISCUS offers and focuses solely on the humanities. This is a great source for juniors and seniors working on research papers.

  4. GVRL! Our Gale Virtual Reference Library volumes focus on literature — Novels for Students, Poetry for galeStudents, Shakespeare for Students and more. These are amazing sources, giving you almost everything you need in one spot — literary analysis, writing style, characters, author biographies and more. We have volumes in print as well as online so ask for help if you don’t see what you need on the website.

  5. BEHS Library Website! You’ll find all these sources on the library website plus writing guides, citation/bibliography help, and some handy search widgets to help find good literary websites.

So there you have it. All the literature sources you need to get that paper finished and get the A!

As always, ask Ms. Bing for help when you’re doing research. Be sure to come into the library to get your database passwords for home use.

New in the BEHS Library

New books in the Library — fiction, non-fiction, action, mystery, realistic fiction — take your pick!


Need help finding a book, just ask Ms. Bing, browse the genre shelves or search the BEHS Library Catalog.

Digital Tools Turn Anyone into A Creative Genius

storyboardthatGot the Picasso Blues, the Ansel Adams Envy? No worries — these easy-to-use digital tools will have you bursting with creativity in no time. All are super easy to use and most don’t require registration (yay!).

Here are a few to get you started:

  • Picmonkey — drag a photo to the edit box and to crop, auto fix, add frames and more
  • Padlet — click on the page to add links, images or text and you have an instant web page to share
  • StoryboardThat — drag and drop backgrounds, characters, text and more to create comic strips
  • Canva — drag and drop frames, text and images to create facebook covers, presentations, posters and more

There are thousands more digital tools out there. The trick is to find the ones that will do what you want, when you want, without a huge learning curve.

Start with this handy list on the Library website. If you have a favorite easy-to-use creative tool of your own, please add a comment!

Pick Any Old Website for Research, meh…

databasesDid you know the more you Google a research topic, the worse results you’ll get?

That’s because the more you click, the more Google tries to help you out by narrowing your search for you. You’re probably thinking that’s a good thing, right? For basic searching, yes. But for academic searching–you want to be the one controlling your search, not Google.

Say you have to research a social issue for Ms. Brown’s class. You start to search on a topic and find something interesting so you click on a few links. As you keep clicking, you might notice that you’re starting to only see one side of the issue. That’s because Google will give you results based on the links you’ve already clicked on not on what you really need. You need neutral, unbiased information but Google doesn’t know that so it’s steering you towards only one side of the issue.

SamplegoogleDid you know many websites that look good really are branded content?

Companies pay people to write articles for them so they can either a) promote their products or b) promote their agenda. If you feel the need to Google, make sure you always check:

  • THE AUTHORS — Are they legit? Who is sponsoring them? Where did they get their information?
  • THE CONTENT — Is it timely? Thorough? Based on good sources? Does it use factual data?
  • THE POINT OF VIEW — Is the website promoting its own agenda? Is the website neutral?

Bottom line:

When you need academic research (which means any research in high school), avoid the hassle and go straight to databases (DISCUS, EBSCO eBooks, JSTOR, etc.); any of the good sources that you can find on the BEHS Library site; or some of the excellent print books you’ll find in the BEHS Library.

One more tip! Be sure to pick up your database passwords in the Library. You don’t want to be stuck without passwords the night before you’re paper is due! (Not that you would ever, ever wait until the night before to finish your paper…)

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