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A Guide for Researchers


According to Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, exploration is "travel over (new territory) for adventure or discovery." Every year, students in Indiana's fifth grades study explorers and how exploration has changed the world.

When I say "explorer," do you only think of Columbus? What about Lewis and Clark, polar explorers, or astronauts? Often, research units on explorers can include all of these and more. You'll find many explorers listed below, but you may think of others who aren't on the list. This guide will give you plenty of places to start looking!

Use this guide (also called a pathfinder) to find the books, websites, and other sources you will need as you research explorers. All print and audiovisual materials listed are located in the Childs Elementary Library Media Center.

Pathfinder Purpose and Intended Use


Dewey decimal numbers
Dewey Decimal
stack of books
Books on

Audio Visual
Choose Your
In Our
For Teachers

Keywords and Phrases

Use these words to search the library catalog, databases, or an online encyclopedia, but don't forget that they also come in handy when using a book's index.


Put quotation marks around words that should stay together ("North Pole").
Use AND to combine search terms ("John Glenn" AND space).

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Dewey Decimal Numbers to Browse

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Located in the Reference Room

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Books on Exploration

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This database will help you find magazine and newspaper articles, plus images for your project.

The state of Indiana provides us with free research databases, or storehouses of information, called INSPIRE. If you are at school or the public library, you can use them without a password. If you want to use them from home or somewhere else, you will have to sign up for a free password (get your parents to help you), but you will get to use the databases right away.

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Audio/Visual Materials

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Choose Your Explorer

Choose either Early Explorers (before about 1800) or Later Explorers (after about 1800) to see specific books and websites about each of the following explorers:

Early Explorers

Later Explorers

  • Jacques Cartier
  • Cheng Ho (Zheng He)
  • Christopher Columbus
  • James Cook
  • Francisco Coronado
  • Hernando Cortez (Hernan Cortes)
  • Sir Francis Drake
  • Vasco da Gama
  • Juan Ponce de Leon
  • Ferdinand Magellan
  • Marco Polo
  • Hernando de Soto
  • Amerigo Vespucci
  • Vikings
  • Lewis and Clark
  • Mary Kingsley
  • David Livingstone
  • Roald Amundsen
  • Richard Byrd
  • Robert Peary
  • Matthew Henson
  • Sir Ernest Shackleton
  • Alexandra David-Neel
  • Sir Edmund Hillary
  • George Mallory
  • Jacques Cousteau
  • Neil Armstrong
  • John Glenn
  • Sally Ride

If you are looking for an explorer who is not on this list, try these steps to find information:

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In Our Community

Need more information? Check the Monroe County Public Library!

In order to borrow books or use the online encyclopedias, you must have a Monroe County Public Library card. If no one in your family has one, or you would like your own, it is easy to get a library card.

Here are some places to start:

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For Teachers

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Created by Jennifer Perry
Indiana University School of Library and Information Science
Begun May 18, 2006 and last updated June 2, 2006.
Contact jeperry@indiana.edu

Clipart from Clipartheaven.com