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Whether to Participate in NHD

Page history last edited by Shaun Hayes 10 years ago

Home > Archivist/Librarian Section > Whether to Participate in NHD


A Guide to Getting Started for Archivists and Librarians


Interested in encouraging or facilitating participation in National History Day (NHD) at your archives or library, but unsure how to begin? This page has information to help answer some typical beginning questions.


How Do I Know if My Library or Repository is Appropriate for Participation in NHD?


  • If a student is researching a topic for a NHD project and you have and allow access to materials to support their research, you are participating in National History Day!


  • If you wish to actively advertise your collections to National History Day participants, or facilitate collaboration with local schools participating in NHD, then read on and visit the rest of this wiki as well as the NHD website.  



Are Teachers in My Area Involved with NHD? What About Home-Schooled Students?

 University of Wisconsin-River Falls

  • YES Contact teachers, department heads, or local homeschooling support organizations to let them know about the collections you have. 
    Need information about local teachers? State coordinators communicate with all the teachers currently participating in NHD. Contact your state coordinator for this information.


  • NO Are there other ways to get involved with NHD such as judging? (For more information see the Judging Information page on the NHD website.) 
    Never been a judge? Some states offer training for judges; check with your state coordinator. (Example: Minnesota Historical Society.)



When Do Students do Research?


Students typically conduct research between September and March, depending on the timeline of the local, state and regional competitions. The national competition is held in June. 


  • Need more information? See the Timeframe page of this toolkit.



Do I Have Sources that NHD Students Want?


Minnesota Historical SocietyStudents choose their topics based upon the theme for that year. In general, they are allowed to focus on any place or time as long as it ties into the theme. So, it is dependent upon what the students in your area are researching, which will vary greatly. Please consult the NHD theme page for information about this year's theme.


  • YES Make sure the students know what you have, when to come, and how to contact you. Put the information on the library's website, or send it out to the local schools and homeschooling support organizations. Additionally, if you have resources with more broad appeal, list them on your website or use different kinds of web-based resources (Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, or other available networks) to advertise those collections.


  • NO/NOT SURE Does my library have access to digital sources? Does my library have a way of sharing collections online or providing remote reference services? Then there could be a student out there who can use whatever you have, if you can provide a way of helping them access that information.


  • Need more information?
    • For information about the NHD theme for the year, see the Annual Theme page on the NHD website.
    • For information about selecting materials from your collections related to NHD, see Highlighting Your Collections.



Do I Want Classes to Visit My Library?


  • YES Contact local teachers, social studies departments, or homeschooling support organizations to set up visits and orient students to research with primary materials. Your state coordinator can be helpful in making teachers and parents aware of the fact you're interested in participating in NHD projects. See Preparing for Class Visits for more information. To find your state coordinator, see the NHD Affiliate Coordinators page on the NHD website.


  • NO If you prefer not to or are unable to host entire classes, then think about other ways that you can accommodate students who wish to use your collections. Setting up a series of days in which students can make appointments for orientation or reference interviews, or preparing to offer reference interviews via phone, email or social networking/instant messaging applications are options.




Do I Have Staff Resources to Provide Reference to Classes?


Does your organization typically charge for reference services? Is it possible to provide those services for free or a reduced rate? Is your reference staff a single person or do you have a team available? All institutions run differently, and the structure, mission, and flexibility of your institution will dictate your capacity for providing services.


  • YES Inform local teachers, social studies departments, or homeschooling support organizations that you are willing and able to provide reference help to entire classes. Be clear about what services you provide and how you can work together to coordinate services for students.


  • NO If your institution can only provide service to individual students, think about how to facilitate ways for educators to assist their students such as handouts, online listings of relevant collections, or links to online finding aids.


Society of American Archivists Reference, Access and Outreach Section's National History Day Committee| Credits

The Society of American Archivists does not assume responsibility for the opinions and views published on this auxiliary site.


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