Semester in Experimental Futures, Spring 2016

Belzberg Library welcomes students in the Semester in Dialogue to SFU Vancouver. This guide will help you to use our library to find and evaluate research material for your projects. If you need further help don't hesitate to Ask a Librarian in person, by phone, email or interactive reference.

Research sources

Library research involves selecting your topic, identifying the best sources and appropriate research tools, accessing the items found and evaluating your results. Start Your Research Here is a brief guide that will help you with this process.

Start your hunt for information "at home" by visiting the SFU Library home page. This gathers all the best research tools, guides and research help in one place. Try our Library Search engine from the home page to quickly find books, articles and information on the library website in one search.

Books, articles and websites on your course reading list or course outline can also provide a good starting point, particularly if the items include bibliographies, references or links to related material.

1. Books, ebooks, films, music, sound, slides

Search the catalogue to find all books, reports and media materials in the SFU Library at all three campuses (Belzberg - Vancouver; Bennett - Burnaby; Fraser - Surrey).

Searching by KEYWORD is generally the best way to start. Once you have found some good results with your keyword searches, use the subjects on those items to focus your search.

When you find a resource that you like, there are additional subject headings in each link that you can choose from.  By choosing a relevant subject heading you can find more related materials for each topic. This can help you both expand and limit your search.

Try the following SUBJECT headings:

  • Art and Society
  • Arts Political Aspects
  • Environmental Economics
  • Geopolitics
  • Global Environmental Change
  • Human Ecology
  • Political science -- Decision Making
  • Social Action
  • Social Change
  • Social Darwinism
  • Sustainable Development -- Government Policy
  • Sustainability
  • Technology and Civilization -- Forecasting
  • Twenty-first Century Forecasts
  • Urban Ecology (Sociology)
  • Urban Policy

The main SUBJECT heading may have hundreds of resources, and you should also note the list of SUBHEADINGS for more specific aspects for each subject. There are RELATED SUBJECTS under some subject headings that have additional information on similar subject areas that can help advance your research. During this course look for the term FORECASTING for resources about the future in the SUBHEADINGS.

Refer to previous Dialogue course guides for more subject headings related Experimental Futures.

1.1 Items at the Belzberg Library

You can limit your search to items at Belzberg Library by checking Belzberg Library (Vancouver) under "Refine results - Library"

If the item is not available at Belzberg Library, or is out on loan, please request it and have it sent to the Belzberg Library! Find electronic books, films, dvds, cds or slides on your topic by searching specific collections or by checking off the optional limit.


For a step-by-step interactive guide to searching the SFU catalogue, see the SFU Library Catalogue Search Guide.

2. Journal and newspaper articles

All print and electronic journals subscribed to by the SFU Library are listed in the catalogue.

Connect to Journal Articles and Databases to find articles in academic journals, trade magazines, reports and newspapers, as well as financial and statistical data. Many indexes provide online access to the full text of the articles or allow you to directly request copies of articles through the "Where Can I Get This?" link. Browse by subject area to identify useful databases for your topic.

  • Academic Search Complete
    • multidisciplinary index to academic and popular journals.
  • Canadian Newsstream
    • full-text of major Canadian newspapers and small market BC papers.
  • Canadian Electronic Library
    • public policy documents from Canadian institutes, think-tanks and research groups
  • Canadian Research Index
    • Canadian government publications.
  • CBCA Complete (Canadian Business and Current Affairs)
    • covers news, business, and academic sources with a Canadian focus.
    • e-books in the Environmental Sciences
  • Environment Complete
    • major database on environmental topics
  • GreenFILE
    • research database focusing on the relationship between human beings and the environment
  • Political Science Complete
    • PSC has a worldwide focus, reflecting the globalization of contemporary political discourse.
  • Sociological Abstracts
    • covers many broad topics including community development, environmental studies and urban studies
  • Web of Science
    • multidisciplinary source and citation index - particularly useful for finding out who else cited an article that you have found relevant. 

Try the same subject terms as suggested for books, or check the thesaurus or list of subject terms within the database. For help with searching databases, check Finding Journal Articles and/or Moving From Citation to Article.

For books and articles not online or at SFU, request an Interlibrary Loan.

3. Statistics and government sources

4. Selected internet sources

In addition to the library catalogue and databases, you will find a lot of good information on the web. Governments, research institutes, non-profit organizations, industry and other associations and companies all have websites - many with publications freely available. Use a web search engine such as Google, Google Scholar or to find additional information, including the websites of interest groups and other organizations. Check the library's Internet Research guide for additional help in finding and evaluating websites.

There is an emerging discipline called environmental humanities.  Environmental Humanities confronts the realities of the Anthropocene and evaluates humanity's global impact and the future of the Earth by exploring science, humanities and public policy all under one interdisciplinary field.  Using the keywords ENVIRONMENTAL HUMANITIES will take you to the many sites that explore the primary topics of the Experimental Futures course.

Useful sites for Experimental Futures

This claims to be the "world's first educational web portal on the Anthropocene."  The goal of this site is to "inspire, educate and engage people about the interaction between humans and the planet."

Centre for Social Innovation: Toronto
A co-working space connecting individuals and organizations working on local and global social innovation projects.

Environmental Humanities Initiatives

Several universities including Princeton, UC Santa Barbara and Yale have organized a variety of resources, media materials and events that are all about the impact of the humanities on policy and the environment to help generate new and significant conversations about our future.


Environmental Humanities Journal

An international, open-access journal that aims to invigorate current interdisciplinary research on the environment.



This is a "cultural laboratory re-imagining possible futures at the interstices of art, science, nature and everyday life"


Future Timeline

This resource gives a speculative view of the future based on an analysis of trends, technology and the environmental landscape.


ICLEI - Local Government for Sustainability
This is an association of local governments that are trying to: connect leaders, accelerate action and provide a gateway for solutions.


International Centre of Art for Social Change (ICASC)

A partnership between SFU and Judith Marcuse Projects. A global centre for networking, training, professional development, research and community outreach in the field of art for social change. Includes a resources and links section.


International Living Future Institute

This foundation is meant to inspire special programs that enrich communities and emphasis a positive impact on our ecology and environment.


Possible Canadas

A partnership that encourages public dialogue around a variety of futures among thought leaders and across campuses.

This SFU initiative is centred around envisioning a future for our university community that is ecologically, economically, and socially sustainable.

SFU Sustainability Reporting Initiative
The Sustainability Reporting Initiative is designed to complement the development of SFU's next Sustainability Strategic Plan and the SFU2021 community engagement process.

Social Innovation Generation
A collaborative partnership between The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, the University of Waterloo, the MaRS Discovery District, and the PLAN Institute, aiming towards fostering innovation and change. 

A collection of tools and informational resources for transforming ideas for social change into a reality. Endorsed by the Canadian Commission for UNESCO. 


What Works: new ways to make social change

A website dedicated to showcasing new and creative ways to make social change.

Subject Research guides are produced by SFU liaison librarians to point you to the best external sources as well as providing information about publications available in the library. Try these guides for further suggestions.

Ask us!

If you would like any further assistance or information about the library or your research, don't hesitate to Ask a Librarian in person, by phone, email or interactive reference.