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Sustainable Food Systems: Semester in Dialogue

Belzberg Library welcomes students in the Undergraduate Semester in Dialogue to SFU Vancouver. This guide will help you to use our library to find research material for this topic. If you have any further questions about library services, please contact Karen Marotz, Head, Belzberg Library at 778.782.5054 or .

Research Sources for Sustainable Food Systems

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 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.

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.
  • Try the following SUBJECT headings:
  • To search for books by subject heading, use the Browse Search option in the SFU Library Catalogue, then select Subject browse from the drop-down menu.
    • Alternative agriculture
    • City planning
    • Community development, Urban
    • Community gardens
    • Food consumption
    • Food security
    • Food supply
    • Nutrition policy
    • Organic farming
    • Sustainable agriculture
    • Sustainable development
    • Urban agriculture

Limit your search to items at Belzberg Library by selecting Belzberg Collection from the main search screen. You can also use ADVANCED KEYWORD search. Select Belzberg Library in the COLLECTION field to include online resources. Select Belzberg Library (Downtown/Harbour Centre) in the LOCATION field for items physically at Belzberg Library.

  • If the item is not available at Belzberg Library, or is out on loan, please request it! Find electronic books, films, dvds, cds or slides on your topic by searching specific collections or by using ADVANCED KEYWORD search and selecting the appropriate format in the FORMAT field.
  • For a step-by-step interactive guide to searching the SFU catalogue, see the SFU Library Catalogue Search Guide.

2. Journal Articles and Databases

You can look up journals by title and search for articles in them.
All print and electronic journals subscribed to by the SFU Library are listed in the catalogue. Electronic journals are also listed in the Electronic Journals Database by title, subject and by the association/organization who publishes the journal.

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.

Suggested article databases for Sustainable Food Systems

  • Academic Search Complete - multidisciplinary index to academic and popular journals
  • Agricola - covers urban and rural agriculture research resources
  • Business Source Complete - index to business journals, industry magazines & market reports.
  • Canadian Newsstream - contains the full text of articles in major Canadian and small market BC newspapers, 2-7 day publication lag
  • CBCA Complete - multidisciplinary index to Canadian journals and magazines
  • ECONLIT - Index to major economics journals and working papers
  • Environment Complete - major database on environmental topics
  • GEOBASE - key human and physical geography database with interdisciplinary coverage of urban topics  
  • GreenFILE - research database focusing on the relationship between human beings and the environment  
  • Sociological Abstracts - sociological aspects of community development and urban studies; includes cited references 
  • 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 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 Internet Research guide for additional help in finding and evaluating web sites.

Useful sites for Sustainable Food Systems

  • 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.