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.
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.
- A dictionary of contemporary history, 1945 to the present
- A dictionary of contemporary world history : from 1900 to the present day
- The Encyclopedia of world history : ancient, medieval, and modern, chronologically arranged
- New dictionary of the history of ideas
- America History and Life (covers Canada and the United States)
- Historical Abstracts (covers the rest of the world)
- American Periodicals Series Online
- Bibliography of British and Irish History
- Bibliography of Native of Native North Americans
- Canadian Business & Current Affairs Database (previously CBCA Complete)
- CPI-Q (Canadian)
- Google Scholar
By connecting via Carleton Library, you will be able to seamlessly connect to the fulltext of articles that are part of the library's collection.
- HAPI Online (Latin American)
- Humanities Index (previously British Humanities Index)
- Iter: Gateway to the Middle Ages & Renaissance
- International Medieval Bibliography
- JSTOR (multi-disciplinary)
- Nineteenth Century Short Title Catalogue (Britain and Colonies)
- Peels Prairie Provinces (Canada)
- Periodicals Archive Online
- Periodicals Index Online
- Web of Science Core Collection (multi-disciplinary)
- Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals, 1824-1900
- Globe and Mail: Canada's Heritage from 1844
- Toronto Star: Pages of the Past (1894-2008)
- New York Times (1851-2007)
- Wall Street Journal (1889-1991)
- Washington Post (1877-1994)
- The Guardian (1821-2003)
- The Observer (1791-2003)
- Illustrated London News Historical Archive (1842-2003)
- The Times Digital Archive (1785-1985)
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.
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
- Avalon Project: Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy
- House of Commons Parliamentary Papers (HCPP)
- U.S. Congressional Serial Set (1817-1980) with American State Papers (1789-1838)
Maps & GIS
- American Memory Map Collections
- Best of History Sites - Maps
- British Atlantic, American Frontier (Canadian-American Center)
- David Rumsey Historical Map Collection
- Dutch Colonial Maps
- European History 1945-90
- Historical Atlas of the Twentieth Century
- Historical Maps (Library of Congress)
- Historical Maps and Charts (NOAA. Office of Coast Survey)
- Images of Early Maps on the Web
- Map History/ History of Cartography
- Maps of Scotland
- Perry-Castaneda Library Map Collection Historical Map Sites (University of Texas)
- TimeMaps - World History Atlas
- War in Europe, North Africa and on the Eastern Front, Maps and Timelines
- World War II Military Situation Maps (Library of Congress)
- WWW-VL History : Maps
Historical GIS (HGIS) is relatively new but increasing in prevalence through its use of geographical analysis in historical contexts.
A handful of HGIS Examples
- Bomb Sight: mapping the WW2 bomb census
- Hidden Patterns of the Civil War
- Historical Maps of the Habsburg Empire
- Holocaust Geographies
- Muninn Project
- ORBIS: The Stanford Geospatial Network Model of the Roman World
Overviews and Selected Resources
- Geohistory - Géohistoire Canada
- GIS & the Humanities (Stanford) - most links are historical
- HGIS Lab (University of Saskatchewan) - dozens of project links
- The Historical GIS Research Network (UK) - overview of HGIS and resource links
- Historical GIS research in Canada edited by Jennifer Bonnell and Marcel Fortin (print book | ebook)
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.
- Geographically place a scanned map on the surface of the earth using Google Earth and copy features from the map
- Use free online mapping tools to display historical geographic data (anything with an address, postal code, or latitude-longitude coordinates)
- Talk to the GIS experts at the library if you don't know where to start or how to proceed - the GIS Librarian has done HGIS work and is happy to help
Search millions of photographs from the LIFE photo archive, stretching from the 1750s to today. Most were never published and are now available for the first time through the joint work of LIFE and Google.
- NYPL Digital Gallery
- Smithsonian Institution Libraries: Galaxy of Images
- World Digital Library
- World Wide Web Virtual Library - History and Images
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
- Academic Info: History
- Best of History Websites
- Country Studies (Library of Congress)
- History Journals Index
- Internet Modern History Sourcebook
- Intute: History Resources
- Resources of Scholarly Societies - History (University of Waterloo)
- Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (George Mason University)
- Voice of the Shuttle (University of California, Santa Barbara)
- World History Matters