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Archive for January, 2010

Chronicling America - Minnesota Newspapers Digitized and Online

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

There is exciting progress in the effort to digitize historic newspapers in Minnesota!

The Minnesota Historical Society has been working with the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), thanks to a grant made possible by NEH and the Library of Congress.  They have just finished their first grant cycle and have digitized and made available online 25 years of The Saint Paul Globe Newspaper (and its earlier titles: Daily Globe and St. Paul Daily Globe), from 1880-1905 and one year of the Minneapolis Journal newspaper (1901).

These newspapers can be found on the Chronicling America website – http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/

In the next grant cycle more years of the Journal will be added, as well as several other newspaper titles from around Minnesota.  About 15 other states also have newspapers up on Chronicling America. Compared to the days of looking at microfilm, Chronicling America is an amazing resource – both for the ability to view the newspapers and to search their content online.  Images can be downloaded and printed out.

You can search by newspaper and year, and can search individual newspaper pages using a keyword search.  The keyword search is particularly neat and is an extremely fast way to search for information on your topic. This is a great way to access primary sources and find visuals for your projects in the form of newspaper headlines and political cartoons.

If you are doing a Minnesota topic be sure to check out the website!

Happy Researching! - Laura

Thesis Statements

Monday, January 11th, 2010

So, you’ve narrowed your topic, done some preliminary research, and decided to present via exhibit board. What’s next? One of the most important aspects of your History Day project is the thesis statement. Why? Because the thesis statement holds the entire project together. If judges were to only read your thesis statement, would it make the central argument of your project? What exactly is a thesis statement? Thesis = Topic + Theme + Impact. The thesis statement is not for introducing your project, but creating an argument that expresses your topic’s significance and demonstrates how the theme, “Innovation in History: Impact and Change” plays the central part of your project.

When is the best time to write your thesis statement? Thesis statements are always a work- in-progress among students. You may think you have your thesis statement together but then gather information that turns your project in a different direction. You may have many different thesis statements and that is okay, however, by the time you present your project, you should have your thesis concrete and supported with evidence. Let’s take a look at a “Don’t” and “Do” example:

Don’t: Television helped John F. Kennedy win the 1960 election.

The problem with this thesis is that it is lacking specific information and there is no concrete evidence to support the claim.

Do: Television was a new communication tool widely available during the 1960 presidential campaign. Senator John F. Kennedy’s innovative use of this mass medium, particularly in the televised presidential debates, helped secure him the presidency over Vice President Richard M. Nixon. Kennedy’s victory marked a new era of political campaigning and change the way Americans understand and receive their political candidates.

Also make sure to work the theme words into your thesis statement, judges love that… :)