Canadian History


Your assignments at university are an invitation to join a scholarly conversation by exploring topics in depth, weighing the evidence, and drawing your own conclusions.  A good research topic is one that sparks your interest and allows you to ask new questions.

Pick a research topic

  • Read your assignment instructions carefully
  • Pick a research topic that interests you and meets the assignment criteria
  • Identify the key concepts of your research topic and do a search on the library's main search box
  • Do some background reading on your topic using Wikipedia

Use guides, dictionaries, and encyclopedias to find authoritative definitions, and useful bibliographies.

Writing Guides

Begin with the Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Sources overview.

Searching for primary sources:

Search your topic (or historical person of interest) using 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)
  • Correspondence
  • Letters
  • Memoir
  • Personal narrative
  • Recollections
  • Reminiscences
  • Journal
  • Sources

 Other search tips:

Key Sources of Primary Sources for Canadian History

CIHM (Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions)

Historical microfiche reproductions from the time of the first European settlers to the 1920s can be searched by entering relevant keywords and adding and CIHM to the search in the library's main search box.




Early Alberta Newspapers.


Finding primary sources on the Internet

Custom Google Search for Canadian Primary Sources

Government Information

The Government Documents collection contains over 1.2 million items and is an especially strong repository of Canadian primary source material.

You will find the most important government documents for historical research, such as the Debates of the House of Commons of Canada, Royal Commissions, and the Census of Canada. You will also find historical sheet maps and atlases from around the world, and a full range of statistical publications to help provide historical context.

See also: Government Information Subject Guide



Over 7,000 U.S. and Canadian advertisements covering five product categories - Beauty and Hygiene, Radio, Television, Transportation, and World War II propaganda - dated between 1911 and 1955.


Collection of streaming educational videos that cover a wide spectrum of disciplines. Contains both clips and full-length videos.

For video material at the Carleton Univeristy library, do a KEYWORD search in the library catalogue and limit "Material Type" to FILM/VIDEO. If you cannot find what you need search the following database:

If you wish to borrow a video listed in Watmedia please fill out our Interfilm Video Request form - do not submit requests directly to Watmedia.

Other Places to look for Videos

Other Media

Oral histories

This Memory Project website provides Second World War veterans with the opportunity to share their memories through oral interviews and digitized artefacts and memorabilia.

General Gateways



Special Topics

Crime and Law

First Nations


Labour History

Photographic exhibition.

Local History and Genealogy (see also Immigration)

Military Studies

Politics and Government

Women's History

The ViVa database provides citations to over 8,000 articles on the subject of women's and gender history published between 1975 and 2004 in historical and women's studies journals.

Content last updated: November 7, 2019