Center for Research (CRL) Libraries Catalog
Traditional and digital resources for research and teaching available to member institutions through interlibrary loan and electronic delivery.
The Internet Archive is a non-profit organization that offers permanent access for researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public to historical collections that exist in digital format. The Internet Archive includes texts, audio, moving images, and software as well as archived web pages.
The Google books collection comprises over 15 million scanned books. Google books Full View feature allows users to view the full text of public domain books, and to save and print a PDF version of the book.
The ARTstor Collection currently contains over one million images. The Collection documents artistic traditions across many times and cultures and embraces architecture, painting, sculpture, photography, decorative arts, and design as well as many other forms of visual culture.
Oral History Online
More than 2,500 collections of Oral History in English from around the world.
Smithsonian Global Sound
Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries is an online encyclopedia of the world's musical and aural traditions. The collection includes over 35,000 recordings owned by the non-profit Smithsonian Folkways Recordings label and the archival audio collections of the legendary Folkways Records, Cook, Dyer-Bennet, Fast Folk, Monitor, Paredon and other labels.
Finding primary sources
- Look at these SFU Library Guides that list resources by publication type.
- Additional resources can be found at SFU Library's Special Collections and Rare Books.
- Additional resources can be found at SFU's Archives.
- Search the SFU Library Catalogue. This can lead you to published works and microfilm that are not available online.
SFU Library catalogue
Search using specific subject terms by doing a Browse Search:
The following list of subject headings could be added to a topic to narrow search results to primary sources:
- - history -- sources
- - documents
- - correspondence
- - diaries
- - personal narratives
- - pictorial works
- - description and travel
- - interviews
- - maps
- - manuscripts
Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions [CIHM/ICMH]
Many archival and library collections are now preserving, digitizing, and providing access to significant primary historical resources. The Internet also provides access to many other primary sources, such as advertisements, e-mail messages, speeches, manifestos, creative works, laws and court cases, historical documents, etc. It is always possible to search for specific items by using a search engine such as Google. A search along the following lines will usually turn up something of use and/or interest:
"primary documents" history England
Enclose the phrase PRIMARY DOCUMENTS in quotation marks to ensure that it is searched as phrase and include the words HISTORY and then the Name of the country, region, or area for which you are seeking documents.
Evaluating primary sources
Reading and interpreting an historical document requires a thoughtful and critical approach. The following sites offer some guidelines for approach and evaluation: Reading a Primary Source , Dohistory, Using Primary Resources, Using Primary Sources on the Web.
A secondary source interprets and analyzes primary sources. Secondary sources are one step removed from the event. Examples: a book about the effects of World War I, a journal article which evaluates a scholar's contribution in a field, an interpretive essay on a short story, or a biography (which may incorporate brief primary sources such as letters, diary entries, etc.)
Types of secondary sources include: textbooks, journal articles, histories, criticism, commentaries, and encyclopedias.
Typical subheadings that can be combined with your main subject heading in the SFU Library Catalogue include:
- history and criticism
- criticism and interpretation
Need more help? Ask a Librarian.