Your writing assignment for this course is an invitation to join a scholarly conversation by exploring a topic in depth and gathering evidence from the past in order to understand its significance in the larger context of Canadian environmental history.
Begin with Reference Resources to find background information on your topic:
- Canadian Encyclopedia
- Canadiana Online (includes all CIHM historical microfiche content)
- Dictionary of Canadian Biography
- Wikipedia (view Using Wikipedia Wisely video)
Learn basic keyword searching techniques to search all databases. Here are step by step instructions:
1. Identify the main concepts of your research topic and brainstorm possible keywords.
2. Search Omni, the library's main search box
3. Use Boolean operators (AND, OR) to combine concepts and enhance your search. By using AND, you are narrowing your search and by using OR you are connecting synonyms, and thereby expanding your search. Here are a few examples:
"forest industry" AND (logging OR sawmill)
"energy crisis" AND Ottawa
4. Make sure to enclose phrases with quotation marks so that words are searched together.
Example: "Central Experimental Farm"
5. Use the truncation (or stemming) technique to broaden your search. The asterisk * at the end of a root word will search various word endings. Example: enviro* = environment, environments, environmental, environmentalism, environmentalist
6. Need help? Use Omni Search Tips
To find books or journal articles, you have two options:
- type in the keywords of your topic
- this discovery tool searches most of the library's databases, simultaneously, for all types of material, ie: journal articles, book reviews, books/e-books, newspapers, magazines,videos, reports, etc.
- each search can return many results (much like Google), so you must use the filters to refine your search results
- use the Advanced Search and narrow by Subject terms (controlled vocabulary)
- remember to login first if you are searching from 'off campus'
- Need help? Omni Search Tips
- these databases are focused on various areas of historical research and contain citations or full text links to journal articles, books, conference proceedings, reports, and dissertations
- databases for Canadian Studies have significant Canadian content
- you will find more precise articles with fewer results to browse
Recommended databases for journal articles:
- America, History and Life
- Canadian Business and Current Affairs
- CPI.Q - Canadian Periodical Index (1988-)
- Erudit - contains some Bilingual and English titles
- JSTOR - digital library archive of academic journals, books and primary sources
- American Review of Canadian Studies
- BC Studies
- Canadian Historical Review
- Environmental History
- Journal of the Canadian Historical Association
- Journal of Canadian Studies
- Ontario History
Remember to register for a RACER account to have access to electronic material from other libraries.
To find newspaper articles, use the following sources:
- Canadian Newsstream - indexes 280 Canadian news sources from across Canada, including the Globe and Mail
- Globe and Mail: 1844 - 2014
- Toronto Star: Pages of the Past: 1894 - 2015
- Canadian Historical Newspaper Archives - browse this list to find historical newspapers in electronic format or microform.
- The Ottawa Journal is only available from Newspapers.com
Searching for primary sources:
Search your topic (or historical person of interest) using Omni, the library's main search box to find primary sources (or reproductions) in our collection. Keyword searches that include the following terms will identify primary materials most of the time:
- Diar* (for diary or diaries)
- Personal narrative
Other search tips
- Use bibliographies and footnotes of secondary sources on your topic to help identify primary source material.
- Useful e-books:
Historical Newspaper Databases
Primary Sources on the web
- Archives and Primary Sources Databases
- Archives of Ontario
- Digital Public Library of America
- Internet Archive
- Hathi Trust Digital Library
- Library and Archives Canada
- Library of Congress Digital Collections
- National Archives (UK)
- New York Public Library Digital Collections
Other libraries with significant primary source collections:
- Center for Research Libraries (CRL) - Carleton University Library is a member of the CRL consortium. It regularly acquires and preserves newspapers, journals, documents, archives, and other traditional and digital resources for research and teaching and makes them available to member institutions through your RACER account.
Historians most often use Chicago Citation Style:
Referencing your sources is an important part of academic writing. Why?
- it lets you acknowledge the ideas or words of others if you use them in your work
- it helps you to avoid plagiarism
- it demonstrates that you are using the scholarly record and that you can provide authority for statements you make in your term paper
- it enables readers to find the source information
- Essaying the past; how to read, write and think about history
- Student writing; give it a generous reading
- Writing Services - offers students help with learning the mechanics of academic writing
- Canadian Science and Technology Museum - Collection & Research
- City of Ottawa Archives - Collections and research
- Gatineau Valley Historical Society
- Library and Archives Canada
- McCord Museum Collections
- National Film Board
- NiCHe - Network in Canadian History and Environment
- Parks Canada History.com