Category Archives: Resource of the Month

Resource of the Month: Ancestry Library Edition

AncestryGive yourself a gift in honor of Genealogy Day (March 12, according to by paying a visit to the library!  In addition to the expected family history resources located on shelves, you’ll have access to Ancestry Library Edition at any of the public computers.

You might have seen ads for or watched “Who Do You Think You Are” on TLC and thought about doing some research of your own.  That used to mean time-consuming — often expensive — trips to courthouses, Register of Deeds offices, churches, and archives, but now much of the legwork can be accomplished virtually, with an internet connection and access to digital collections.

According to its website:  “Ancestry Library Edition provides access to billions of historical documents, millions of historical photos, plus local narratives, oral histories, indexes and other resources in over 30,000 databases that span from the 1500s to the 2000s.”  And it’s free to onsite library visitors!  There are two dedicated Local History and Genealogy computers, but any of our public computers will provide access to the amazing and ever-expanding collection of  Library visitors can explore records and research guides at

The significant differences between a paid, individual subscription and the Library Edition have to do with personalization, so library visitors cannot upload documents or add to online family trees.  However, patrons are able to search most of the databases, save/email/print information, and take advantage of forms and tips and tutorials.

Staff at the Reference Desk are happy to assist you in getting started with this resource.  We also have genealogy volunteers available every Thursday to assist you with researching your family history.  Call 919-545-8086 for details and to schedule an appointment.

Resource of the Month: Go Ask Alice!

Go Ask Alice

Have a burning health question you’d like to anonymously ask a medical professional? Want to see what others have asked in your situation? Then check out Go Ask Alice!, available through NC LIVE. Go Ask Alice! is a health question-and-answer (Q&A) Internet resource produced by Alice! Health Promotion at Columbia University, a division of Columbia Health.

Worried about the reliability of information found on an Internet website? Very smart of you to be wary, dear reader, but in this case you need not fear. Go Ask Alice! is run and supported by “a team of Columbia University health promotion specialists, health care providers, and other health professionals, along with a staff of information and research specialists and writers.”

To access this resource, navigate to the library’s website (, click on Online Resources, and click the large NC LIVE link at the top of the resulting page. When you land on NC LIVE’s main page, you can access Go Ask Alice! several different ways. However, the easiest method is to click Browse Databases from the menu bar at the top of the page, then navigate to the resources beginning with G. You will not need your library card to access this resource outside the library.

Once on the site’s main page, you can ask your own question by clicking the Ask Your Question box. You can also see others’ answered questions by clicking Health Answers on the main menu bar and choosing the relevant section (such as Nutrition & Physical Activity). If you need assistance with this resource, feel free to contact the reference desk at 545-8086.

Resource of the Month: ProCitizen


Are you preparing to become a U.S. citizen?  ProCitizen can help!   ProCitizen is a self-paced preparation course that will help you study for the civics, reading, and writing portions of the naturalization test.  Through a series of 100 informative videos, plus practice exercises and quizzes, you will learn everything you need to know to successfully pass the naturalization test.

To access this resource, visit and click on the Career, Jobs & Test Preparation category.  Follow the link to ProCitizen.  (ProCitizen is provided through Pronunciator and can also be accessed through that resource.)  The first time you land on the ProCitizen site, you will enter an email address and a password to create an account.  This will allow you to track your progress throughout the course.

Once you are signed in, you will navigate through the lessons by using the drop-down menus at the top of the screen.  The left-hand menu displays the section, and the right-hand menu displays the question number you are currently working on.  Work your way through the course by using the navigation buttons on the screen.  If your computer has speakers, you will hear a narrator reading out lessons, questions, and answers.

If you need assistance with this resource, contact the reference desk at 545-8086.  Happy studying!

Resource of the Month: AccessScience

Are you looking for an authoritative Reference resource for your children (or students)? AccessScience is here for you and your budding scientists!

AccessScience describe themselves this way:

AccessScience is an authoritative and dynamic online resource that contains incisively written, high-quality reference material that covers all major scientific disciplines. An award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, it offers links to primary research material, videos and exclusive animations, plus specially designed curriculum maps for teachers. With these and other online features, AccessScience is continually expanding the ways it can demonstrate and explain core, trustworthy scientific information in a way that inspires and guides users to deeper knowledge.

AccessScience’s home page presents the resources in easy-to-find categories. Tabs for Biography, Articles, and Media get you and your student to the category you need quickly. If you need everything AccessScience has to offer on a particular subject, use the search engine at the top of the page. If you get too many results using the simple search engine, the advanced search engine allows you to refine your search. If you are looking for a specific photo or video you can also limit your search by file type.

The easiest way to, ahem, access AccessScience is to go to the library’s website (, click on Online Resources, then click the large NC LIVE link at the top of the Online Resources page. When you land on NC LIVE, you can either click on the link that says “Science & Technology” or you can type “AccessScience” in NC LIVE’s search field. If you are accessing this resource outside of the library, you will be prompted to log in with your library card number.

Resource of the Month: African American Heritage

African American HeritageIf the genealogy bug has caught you, Chatham County Public Libraries can help! In addition to offering access to Ancestry Library Edition in the library and to HeritageQuest from anywhere, the library offers access to African American Heritage in our branches and off site with a password.

This resource provides genealogical and historical records useful for exploring the lives of African American ancestors, a process complicated by the disruptions of slavery and the dearth of centrally-accessible records.  African American Heritage helps family history researchers by bringing together some of the scattered records and by offering expert guides through references and social networking possibilities.

Starting at the library’s home page,, click on Online Resources, then the link for Genealogy, followed by the icon for African American Heritage.  Outside of the library, you’ll need a password which staff at the Reference Desk will be happy to share with you.

You’ll find census, Freedman’s Bank, and slave records; birth, marriage, death and North Carolina cohabitation records; church, military, court, and legal records; as well as genealogies and family histories.  In addition, you’ll have access to guides for locating resources in all fifty states, Canada, and the West Indies.

From the home page, you can search and browse the collections, search and browse how-to and reference books, and link to AfriGeneas (a partner site), where you can interact with a community of interested and experienced researchers. During your research sessions, it’s possible to track your search history and to save your discoveries to a notebook for later printing, emailing, and downloading.

Call 919-545-8086 for African American Heritage login information or to discuss this and other tools for genealogy research.  Happy searching!

Resource of the Month: ReferenceUSA

referenceusa_alt_576pxhReferenceUSA is a valuable source of business and residential information for business and consumer research. You can find more than 24 million businesses, 262 million consumers, new U.S. businesses and new U.S. homeowners in ReferenceUSA’s databases, providing quick and easy access to quality information that can be used to answer a wide variety of business questions.

Small business owners/entrepreneurs use ReferenceUSA to:

  • select a location and do a radius search to look up the number of similar businesses in the area
  • check the strength of the competition with years in business and credit rating
  • look for businesses to buy or connect with fellow business owners

Job seekers can locate and research companies they may want to work for. The databases include:

  • 200,000 human resource contact names
  • business descriptions
  • website links to job postings

People who are moving can use ReferenceUSA to:

  • find schools, childcare, houses of worship, doctors and other services
  • research neighborhoods
  • look for housing
  • check home value and median income to see how they will compare to neighbors

Students use ReferenceUSA to:

  • find articles for research on businesses
  • perform complicated searches for papers and class projects
  • use data summaries to profile a neighborhood, city or state by type of business, size of business or household median income

To access ReferenceUSA, point your browser to and click on the Business and Management subject heading. Scroll down the list of resources to find and click on ReferenceUSA. If you are outside of the library, you will be prompted to enter your library card number.

Resource of the Month: Access Video

Calling teachers looking for video content to augment your lesson plans (and curious library patrons)!  Access Video (also known as Films On Demand) is here to make your life richer and easier.

Access Video describe themselves this way:

Films On Demand is a state-of-the-art streaming video platform that makes it easier than ever to incorporate outstanding educational video content into your curriculum by providing easy integration with learning management systems, online lesson plans, distance learning courseware, or electronic card catalog systems.

The site’s “advanced search” feature allows you to refine and filter your search terms the same way you might on a database for print articles like ProQuest or ERIC. For example, if you get too many results for “measles”, you have the option to filter your results by subject, year of copyright, program type, or targeted curriculum.

A novel feature allows you to search for sections of longer videos. For example, if you want to know about the measles vaccine but want to skip the definition of the measles, type “measles vaccine” in the search field. Click on one of the resulting videos and you will likely land right in the section where they touch on the immunization process.

To access this resource, point your browser to, and click on the “Online Resources” link. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the logo for Access Video / Films On Demand. Create your own user account to save videos and set preferences. Watch the clock, though – you can lose track of time in a hurry!

Resource of the Month: NCpedia

Have you ever wondered just which frog/dog/tree/bird/reptile, exactly, is one of the official North Carolina symbols or been cornered to explain the term “Tar Heel”?  Newcomers to the state and natives alike will find that NCpedia is a direct line to easy-to-access information for research, travel, or fun.

This is an award-winning searchable and browseable collection of all things North Carolina from trustworthy sources.  Articles are drawn from an array of resources so you don’t have to go poking about, and you’ll find images and audio, a trivia quiz, and an ever-changing “This Day in North Carolina History” box.

A search for “Chatham County” brings up a map, census info, a brief history, and economic facts.  That page also links to the official county site, the Chamber of Commerce, and events and places such as the Silk Hope Old Fashioned Farmer’s Day and the Devil’s Tramping Ground near Siler City.

NCpedia can help you learn something new about where you live and make you the tour guide of your visitors’ dreams!

Resource of the Month: Science in Context

ScienceInContextGot a science fair coming up? Maybe a middle school or high school science paper due?  Check out Science in Context!

Science in Context is an online resource providing contextual information on hundreds of today’s most significant science topics. Science in Context helps students learn about the subject matter by integrating authoritative, curriculum-aligned reference content with today’s headlines and videos – showing how scientific disciplines relate to real-world issues, from weather patterns to obesity.  This resource also contains more than 200 experiments and projects that provide practical experience on many scientific concepts.

To access Science in Context, visit and click on the Science and Technology subject heading. Choose Science in Context from the list of resources. If you are accessing this resource outside of the library, you will be prompted to log in with your library card number.

From the Science in Context home page, you can search for information on a variety of topics. You can also browse a list of topics, view maps related to various science topics, and view the curriculum standards in math and science by grade level both nationally and for North Carolina.

Resource of the Month: Morningstar Investment Research Center

morningstarMorningstar Investment Research Center is a comprehensive financial database serving investors of all levels.  It provides investment research data on approximately 370,000 investment offerings including stocks, mutual funds, and similar vehicles. It also offers real-time market data on more than 4 million equities, indexes, futures, options, and commodities as well as foreign exchange and Treasury markets.

To access Morningstar, visit and click on the Business & Management subject heading. Choose Morningstar Investment Research Center from the list of resources. If you are accessing this resource outside of the library, you will be prompted to log in with your library card number.

From the Morningstar home page, you can search for information on companies, stocks, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, and markets. You can also access portfolio tools and calculators for retirement and college savings, see Morningstar’s fund and stock picks, choose funds and stocks based on your stated criteria, and much more.