Belzberg Library welcomes students in the Undergraduate 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 have any further questions about library services, please contact Karen Marotz, Head, Belzberg Library at 778-782-5054 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Books, articles and web sites 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.
Search the catalogue to find all books, reports and media materials in the SFU Library at all three campuses (Belzberg - Vancouver; Bennett - Burnaby; Surrey - SFU 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.
- Try the following SUBJECT headings:
- Cities and Towns Growth
- City Planning Environmental Aspects
- Community Development Urban
- Environmental Protection Citizen Participation
- Land Use
- Political Ecology
- Public Spaces
- Regional Planning
- Sustainable Agriculture
- Sustainable Development
- Urban Ecology
- Urban Policy
Limit your search to items at Belzberg Library by selecting Belzberg Collection from the main search screen. You can also use ADVANCED KEYWORD search.
- If the item is not available at Belzberg Library, or is out on loan, please request it!
- For a step-by-step interactive guide to searching the SFU catalogue, see the SFU Library Catalogue Search Guide.
- 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 photocopies of articles through the "Where Can I Get This?" link. Browse by subject area to identify useful databases for your topic.
Suggested article databases for Finding Space, Understanding Place:
- Academic Search Premier - multidisciplinary index to academic and popular journals.
- Alternative Press Index - alternative and radical media; includes urban ecology and sustainability.
- Agricola - Covers urban and rural agriculture research resources.
- Art Full Text - covers architecture, city planning and urban design.
- Canadian Newsstream - fulltext of major Canadian newspapers and Canwest's small market BC papers.
- Canadian Public Policy Collection - monograph publications from policy and research institutes, think tanks, advocacy groups, government agencies and university research centres.
- Canadian Research Index - Canadian government publications.
- CBCA Complete (Canadian Business and Current Affairs) - covers news, business, and academic sources with a Canadian focus, including resource & environmental management and urban planning sources.
- Geobase - key human and physical geography database with interdisciplinary coverage for researching environmental issues.
- Urban Studies Abstracts - covers planning, transportation, land use, urban policy and social issues.
- Web of Science - A multidisciplinary source that indexes thousands of social science and humanities journals in addition to science journals. It also includes cited reference searches.
- 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.
- BC Stats Publications - After you connect, click the "Agree" button to enter the site. The A-Z index (located on the upper left corner) provides access to BC Statistics by subject.
- British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture and Lands - enables economic and social development and environmental sustainability for the agriculture, aquaculture, and food sectors, including related management of Crown land.
- Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) - provides tools and research on sustainable community planning and housing
- City of Vancouver - provides information and links to city projects and initiatives currently underway. Also see the index to Land Use and Development Policies and Guidelines.
- Government of British Columbia (B.C. Government) - Ministries and Organizations (A-Z list) - is an access point to all the ministries and organizations of the Government of British Columbia.
- Government of Canada: (A-Z Index) - The site's A-Z index covers topics related to climate change, energy, environmental aspects, sustainable development and much more.
- Metro Vancouver - provides regional planning and services for the Greater Vancouver area, including regional planning, waste management and air quality.
- Statistics Canada: Statistics by Subject - The subject guide includes topics on energy, environment, manufacturing, transportation, and much more.
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 web sites - many with publications freely available. Use a web search engine such as Google, Google Scholar or Ask.com to find additional information, including the web sites of interest groups and other organizations. Check the library's World Wide Web Research guide for additional help in finding and evaluating web sites.
Useful sites for Finding Space, Understanding Place:
- BLDGBLOG - described as architectural conjecture, urban speculation and landscape futures, this blog by Geoff Manaugh discusses all aspects of how humans shape their environment.
- Cyburbia: The Planning Community - is a social networking site for urban planners and others interested in cities and the built environment.
- Farm Folk / City Folk - is a non-profit society that works to cultivate a local, sustainable food system. The resources section of the site features links, documents, and bibliographies about locally-grown food.
- The Global Development Research Center (GDRC) - is a virtual organization that carries out initiatives in education and research in the areas of environmental sustainability, urbanization and community development. For resources that intersect these themes, go to the Urban Environmental Management Programmes page
- NewCity Institute - promotes best practices research and implementation focused on cities, sustainability and citizen participation, and includes links to local projects.
- Project for Public Spaces - is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people and communities create and sustain public spaces. See the resources page for placemaking links and more.
- RUAF Foundation: Resource Centres on Urban Agriculture and Food Security - Network of six regional associations committed to developing and promoting sustainable urban agriculture policies and actions. Includes extensive information resources and annotated bibliography on urban agriculture.
- Sapling.info: The Architecture, Planning & Landscape Information Gateway - is a resource for academics, students, professionals and practitioners with an interest in the areas of architecture, planning and landscape.
- Sustainable Communities Network (SCN) - links citizens to resources and to one another to create sustainable communities.
- SFU Centre for Sustainable Community Development - teaching and research unit that aims to integrate economic, social and environmental objectives in community development.
- SFU Sustainability Network - the hub for sustainability, energy reduction, education, and climate action initiatives at SFU.
- Vancouver Public Space Network - is an advocacy group concerned with all aspects of public space, including creative (re)-greening of the public environment and public access to the decision-making process around public space. See their tools page for links and bibliographies.
5. Research guides for related subjects
- 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.
- 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.