How to choose an essay topic

Explore your topic

Introducing Summon - which makes it possible to search across many of the library's collections simultaneously. Including books, ebooks, journal titles, games, music, videos, government information, maps, and more.

However,  Summon doesn't search everything that the library owns or subscribes to so you will still need to search other resources to find everything that you need. Summon also doesn't let you do sophisticated searches that you may be used to doing in specific databases or the library catalogue.  

When to use Summon

  • When starting research on a topic
  • If you are not sure which databases to use

For assistance using Summon please contact the Research Help Desk.

Reference Materials: 

Use reference materials to get started on your research. These can be found in the Reference area of the library, main floor behind the Research Help Desk.

 

Finding primary sources in the library collection

   1. Original documents can be found by consulting the Archives and Research Collections (ARC) website.
   2. Reproductions can be found by checking the library catalogue.

Use specific words to locate primary sourcees in the Library catalogue, such as: correspondence, sources, diaries, letters, personal naratives. KEYWORD search examples:

  • [PERSON’S NAME] and s:correspondence
  • [PERSON’S NAME] and s:diaries
  • [PERSON’S NAME] and s:letters
  • [KEYWORD] and s:sources
     

In the library's electronic and microform collections

The library has many online and microform collections of primary sources, including newspapers.  See the various country-specific Subject Guides for more information.

Centre for Research Libraries

The Center for Research Libraries (CRL)
A great institution to check for historical documents, newspapers, journals, archives and other sources. "The Center for Research Libraries (CRL) is a consortium of North American universities, colleges, and independent research libraries. The consortium 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 interlibrary loan and electronic delivery." Carleton University Library is a mermber of CRL.

Government Information

The Government Documents collection contains over 1.3 million items.  The strongest collection areas are: Canadian Federal, Canadian Provincial, Intergovernmental International Organizations and European Union publications.

Staff at the information desk in MADGIC will assist you to identify primary sources for your research and assignment needs, and help you to use them efficiently.

Be sure to check out their Google Custom Search Engine for government specific searches in Canada / United States / Africa /Asia and the Pacific / Caribbean and Latin America /Middle East / Intergovernmental Organizations

Maps & GIS

Maps

GIS: 

Historical GIS (HGIS) is relatively new but increasing in prevalence through its use of geographical analysis in historical contexts. 

A handful of HGIS Examples

Overviews and Selected Resources

Trying it out

While HGIS work can seem intimidating, it is possible to add a custom map to your project or even do geographic analysis of historical events as your project itself. 

Media

Images

Videos

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.

Free online documentaries

ONLINE Games