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Blog Posts by Subject: Reference

The Right Stuff: Finding the Best Biography Database for Your Research

Find the best biography database for your subject, whether it is Alan Turing or Beyoncé.Read More ›

The Art and Science of Problem Solving

It seems like practically every day we read in both the popular media and academic reports that thinking and problem solving abilities need to taught in our schools, rather than memorization and standardized testing. But what exactly is problem solving, what does it entail?Read More ›

Ep. 28 "I Have Always Loved to Answer Questions" | Library Stories

As a member of the team at AskNYPL, Matthew fields research questions both big and small from curious people all over the globe — questions that even the internet cannot answer.Read More ›

NYPLarcade: Game Design Books at the Library

Whatever your age or interests, the library can point you to great books and resources for designing your own games.Read More ›

Finding Wonder Women at the Library: Online Biographies and Encyclopedias

March is Women’s History Month! Here are some databases that can help with your assignments and projects:Read More ›

Research 101: Primary Sources

What is a Primary Source? A primary source is an original document or object that was created at the time of your study.Read More ›

Live from the Reading Room: Arturo Schomburg to Langston Hughes

Today’s letter features correspondence between Arturo Alfonso Schomburg and Langston Hughes. In the excerpt below, Schomburg speaks with Hughes regarding acquisitions for The Division of Negro Literature, History and Prints—the forerunner to today’s Schomburg Center.Read More ›

3 Reasons to Use Find My Past for Family History Research

Find My Past holds many useful records for furthering your family history research. Here are three reasons to explore this database and continue your genealogical journey:Read More ›

How to Research Dutch Ancestors

Primarily focusing on library collections, this guide presents a select list of materials useful for researching Dutch ancestors in New Netherland and colonial New York. Find information on research strategies, family histories, early directories, church records, Dutch genealogy periodicals, and more.Read More ›

Understanding the Syrian Refugee Crisis

Over the past several weeks, we've heard a lot about the plight of refugees fleeing Syria and its neighboring countries for safer and more stable living conditions in Europe. Such a systemic, rapidly-changing issue can be hard comprehend, but we are confronted with images and stories that beg for our understanding.Read More ›

Online Research: Where to Start

The New York Public Library has a huge selection of online content to help with your research, whether it's finding a single article, tracing a family tree, writing a dissertation, or anything in between. Read More ›

Now Screening: New Electronic Resources, July 2015

Overview of National Geographic Virtual Library, Nineteenth Century U.S. Newspapers, and Indigenous Peoples: North America.Read More ›

How to Access Digital Resources For Children

The Library subscribes to digital resources for kids that incorporate reading, test taking, videos and games and meet local and national educational standards. Learn how to access them with a library card.Read More ›

Names Have Meaning: A Research Guide for Baby Names and Family Names

Like any word in the dictionary, a person’s name has meaning. The study of names is called onomastics or onomatology. Onomastics covers the naming of all things, including place names (toponyms) and personal names (anthroponyms). Given names, often called first names, and surnames, often called last names, usually derive from words with distinct origins.Read More ›

Researching New York City Neighborhoods

Redefined by the city’s growth, changing populations, and the plans of real estate developers, New York City neighborhoods are ever-evolving entities. They can be researched through our collections—useful materials include neighborhood and borough-specific histories, NYC guidebooks, city agency reports, local newspapers, clippings, statistical data, and maps.Read More ›

14 Words Even Bookworms Often Confuse

We've rounded up some tricky word pairs and their definitions, adding sentences to help you remember the distinctions. Join in the fun by commenting with your own mnemonic sentences that include these words.Read More ›

How To Find Photographs and Images in the Library and Beyond

A guide to photo and image collections in the library and others available online.Read More ›

Lawmen and Badmen: The Tin Star of the Old West

In the early American West, the lawman might be a U.S. marshal, appointed by the Attorney General, or he might be a local sheriff elected to office by the townfolk. The distinction often makes no difference in old Western movies, but is an optimum detail in the pursuit of genealogy and local history research in the Milstein Division, where reference librarians must wrangle between the local, county, state, and federal levels in order to rope in relevant resources for patron requests.Read More ›

Core Strength: American National Biography

American National Biography is a record of the men and women whose lives helped shape the United States—from Christopher Columbus to Addie Wyatt. The online version of ANB was released in 2000 and is updated every April and October with new entries and revisions to existing profiles.Read More ›

Reference Service in the Digital Age

Let Ask NYPL librarian that for you.Read More ›
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