The fourth lesson in the NGS HSC is “Library Resources and Citation Examples.” This was a very straightforward lesson and assignment I felt. The assignment is to do a Library Survey and provide citations of various types of resources. I actually received a “Complete” on first submission even though I forgot one of the citations (the grader said it seemed apparent I knew how to do citations so he let it slide).
There weren’t any big hang-ups here except for scheduling the time to get to the repository with a short enough to-do list that the assignment activities could be done. I found that many questions were answered by their website so I didn’t have a huge list of things to survey when I actually arrived.
Some of the suggested reading included chapter 5 “An Introduction to Research Tools: The Library” and Chapter 6 “An Introduction to Research Tools: Reference Materials” in The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy (affiliate link) by Val D. Greenwood. These two chapters discusses major repositories and libraries, classification systems, and key resources/references. In addition, The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy (affiliate link) edited by Loretto Dennis Szucs and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking with its chapters on General References and Guides (chapter 3), Directories (chapter 8), and Newspapers (chapter 12) was recommended.
Skillbuilding: Analyzing and Reviewing Published Sources, a Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) Skillbuilding article was referenced as was the chapter on “Book and Media Reviews” by Elizabeth Shown Mills in Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers, and Librarians, (affiliate link) edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills.
No real showstoppers in this lesson nor did it take much time to actually do the lesson (once I got to the library). But it was a good way to take a deep breath and make sure you know the repository and its resources. This would be valuable exercise for any repository you visit on a regular basis.