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Site Help An Online Encyclopedia is an evolving and comprehensive account of the Tar Heel state. Below are detailed instructions to facilitate research and locate interrelated subjects.

Home Page

The home page includes a brief summary of one of the new commentaries, lesson plans, or encyclopedia entries. Occasionally, the home page announces an upcoming North Carolina History Project event or highlights a timely entry or essay. At the bottom of the right-hand column, the latest encyclopedia entries are listed. As new entries are posted, the list changes accordingly. Please visit frequently to keep updated on new entries, commentaries, or lesson plans.

If an entry is not listed on the homepage (only a few will be), provides various search engines to facilitate research. The most useful instruments may be the alphabetical bar located at the top of the homepage, section display pages, individual entry pages, and the category search engine located on the home page. By using the alphabetical bar, researchers can find every encyclopedia entry starting with a certain letter. The category search allows users to do thematic research; choose a category and the search engine finds all thematically related entries, no matter their alphabetical listing. Some highlighted historical themes can be found only in the category search.

A general search engine is located at the top-right corner. Researchers perform keyword queries here, and the search engine finds any related encyclopedia entries.


The encyclopedia page operates similarly to the home page (which features the encyclopedia). A few search categories need some explanation, however.

At the bottom of individual entries, several search features assist research. A category listing provides an inventory of all entries that are thematically similar to the entry just read. The timeline search culls all entries pertaining to a specific historical era; the timeline is divided into nine categories: pre-1585, 1585-1663, 1664-1775, 1776-1835, 1836-1865, 1866-1915, 1916-1945, 1946-1990, and 1991-present. Some entries will be in more than one category. A regional search combines not only statewide entries but also distinguishes eastern, piedmont plateau, and mountain region entries. Also at the end of each entry, an automatically generated list of subject-related entries is provided.

Within the body of each entry, in-text links are provided to other encyclopedia entries. Not all entries have an in-text link. It is therefore beneficial to use the category, timeline, and regional search engines.

After each encyclopedia entry, sources and authors are listed. Sources of entries are primary and secondary, and their listing provides leads for additional research. An author search can also be performed.

Educators’ Corner

The Educators’ Corner is exclusively created for classroom purposes. Educators are encouraged also to use encyclopedia entries and commentaries in conjunction with the lesson plans.

On each page in the Educator’s Corner, summaries of each lesson are provided and classified according to the appropriate grade level. If interested in a lesson, open the accompanying PDF file, where there will be a lesson plan and any ancillary materials (PDF files make printing and copying easier).

There are approximately ten lesson summaries per page. To view more lessons, click on the “next page” link at the bottom of the page.

If no lesson plan in the Educators’ Corner addresses current lesson needs, please perform various searches for appropriate encyclopedia entries and commentaries.

The lesson plans recommend encyclopedia entries. These entries can complement texts and provide students with further information so that they can analyze and evaluate the significance of historical people and events. Commentaries can be used effectively to engage student discussions.

In the Educators’ Corner, lesson plans can be used for more than teaching North Carolina history. United States history and government teachers can use the lessons to provide students with examples of regional and national phenomena or their exceptions. Geography teachers can use lesson plans and accompanying entries to teach human geography, for instance.


The Commentary section has many purposes. It can be used for personal enjoyment and research. In conjunction with appropriate encyclopedia entries and lesson plans, educators can use commentaries to present opposing views and foster class discussion and critical thinking.

The Commentary section includes a series of “yes” and “no” essays. In them, essayists answer questions asked by the Editor. Other essays, for instance, relay how history relates to the present, explore the fictional yet fascinating arena of counterfactuals (what might have been, if. . . .), or discuss the historian’s craft.

Because the commentaries deal with a variety of subjects, helpful search tools are located in several places. On the home page, users can perform keyword queries in the general search engine to locate all content, including commentaries, relating to a given subject. On the commentary page, users can perform category searches within the commentary database. The commentary page also lists the latest submissions in the lower right-hand column and introduces the latest commentary in the lower left-hand column.

At the end of each commentary, a “see also” listing, similar to that in the encyclopedia, locates related encyclopedia entries and lesson plans according to historical time, place, and theme.

Additional Help

For additional help using the site, or to make suggestions for future content for the site, please contact us.

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