This library course guide is intended to help students hone their information literacy skills related to the research paper process.
View Library Instruction video, Feb. 4, 2021 (presentation begins at 11 minute mark)
Pick a Research topic
- Read your syllabus and research paper assignment instructions carefully
- Pick a topic that interests you and meets the criteria of the research paper process
- Need extra help? Click on Choosing an essay topic
For background information
- search on Wikipedia to become familiar with a topic
- to broaden your search term vocabulary
- Watch the video, Using Wikepedia Wisely
Identify events or themes by consulting online encyclopedias or handbooks
To find books, search Omni by keyword.
Try using the Advanced Search in Omni to find books using the subject headings associated with World War II.
When subject searching, it is important to use the exact vocabulary as indicated below. The most useful one for your research paper assignment in this course is: World War, 1939-1945
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Aerial operations
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Atrocities
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Battlefields
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Canada
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Casualties
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Concentration camps
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Diplomatic history
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Draft resisters
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Equipment and supplies
- World War, 1939-1945 -- France
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Germany
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Great Britain
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Italy
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Japan
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Jewish resistance
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Monuments
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Naval operations
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Propaganda
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Public opinion
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Refugees
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Sources
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Technology
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Women
More Library of Congress Subject Headings (WORD file)
After you have found some books by using one of the suggested subject headings in Omni, remember to filter your results by selecting: 'books' and 'available online'.
If you want to borrow a print book from the library's collection, consult the Curbside pick-up and Mail delivery to request items.
If you need more help with finding books, consult:
Basic Search Tips using Omni
1. Identify the main concepts of your research topic and brainstorm possible keywords.
2. Use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) to combine keywords and enhance your search. These command words should be capitalized when searching Omni.
- Use AND to combine topics - Holocaust AND World War II AND memory
- Use OR to between words or synonyms to find either word - Blitzkrieg OR lightning war
- Use NOT to exclude a term - internment NOT prison
- Use quotation marks to search for phrases - "wartime propaganda"
- Use the asterisk* for word endings to broaden your search - Canad* = Canada, Canada's, Canadian, Canadians
3. Begin searching with Omni search to find books or articles using Boolean Operators as described above. Remember to filter your search by content type for each new search.
4. Here are the filters for finding peer reviewed journal articles:
- Available Online
- Peer reviewed Journals
- Subject (optional)
5. Here are the filters for finding books:
- Available Online
- Subject (optional)
What are peer reviewed journal articles?
- Peer Review in 3 minutes (video)
To find peer-reviewed journal articles, you have 2 options:
When you have a list of results, use the filters on the left side of the results page to refine your search:
- Peer Reviewed Journals
Search subject-specific databases for history by keyword. Recommended databases include:
- America History and Life contains citations and abstracts to articles from journals in all areas of Canadian and U.S. history
- Historical Abstracts
- Project Muse
Tip: If you are unsure if a journal is scholarly and peer reviewed, check Ulrichsweb. It is the definitive source that lets you know what type of journal you are using by 'content type'.
Remember: If you cannot find a certain book at this library, register for a RACER account to access electronic material from other libraries.
Search for primary sources using Omni, the library's main search box:
Search your topic (or historical person of interest) and include the following keywords in your search.
Example: Holocaust AND (diaries OR personal narrative*)
- Diar* (for diary or diaries)
- Personal narratives
Other search tips:
- Use the bibliographies and footnotes of secondary sources on your topic to help identify primary source material.
- Useful book: History beyond the text: a student's guide to approaching alternative sources
Historical Newspaper Databases
Primary and Archival Sources on the web (all topics)
- Archives and Primary Sources Databases
- Digital Public Library of America
- Internet Archive
- Hathi Trust Digital Library
- Library of Congress Digital Collections
- National Archives (UK)
- New York Public Library Digital Collections
- RUSA Primary Sources on the web guide
Canadian web sites for discovering primary source material:
- Canadian Museum of History
- Canada War Museum
- Historica Canada
- Library and Archives Canada
- Toronto Public Library
- Virtual Museum Canada