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Canadian History Research Guide: Locating Primary Sources by Topic

Locating Primary Sources by Topic

Locating primary sources can be difficult because there is currently no one easy way to go about it.  Instead it is a matter of plodding through collection by collection.  Contents in this libguide focused on creating a means of locating primary sources in the area of Canadian History by the Type of Primary Source.  Another way to go about it is by the Topic of the Primary Source.

Although not strictly Canadian in focus, the University of San Diego Libraries has created a guide to primary sources by topic.  There are some resources listed of relevance to Canadian History.  Also note some collections are restricted to the University of San Diego users and is indicated as such by a lock.  Despite this, there is links to many collections that are open. 

Meta Searching Via Google Advanced Search

Advanced Google Searches

General Google searches may yield very many results, and it may take much sifting through the results in order to find relevant items. Using Google Advanced Search with specific search terms can help yield more focused results.

Within Google Advanced Search, use the “all of these words” and the “this exact word or phrase” to enter keywords for your subject, for example,

  • all these words:          Métis Rebellion
  • any of these words:    archives manuscripts correspondence diaries scrapbooks sources letters

This will yield a mixture of digitized full text and other material.

Also try:

  • all these words:          Women Canada
  • any of these words:    "digital archives" "digital collection" "digital library" "online collection"

Although less effective you can also try:

  • all these words:         [Your topic words]
  • any of these words:   cdm contentdm

"Cdm" or "contentdm" occur in the url of many digital collections

For any of these searches Use the Usage Rights option and select material that is openly available for you to use.

For any of these searches, use the “site or domain” box to search within just .edu, .org, or .gov sites.​​  List of country domain names.

Note: Examples adapted from Harvard University Libraries Libduide


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