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MATH 380W: History of Mathematics

This guide highlights the top tools for your research in MATH 380W. If you can't find what you need, please contact Crystal Yin at or Ask a librarian.

Tips for starting out

Starting with background info

Beginning your research with an encyclopedia article or biography can help establish the basics of your topic. And each article will have a reference list that can point you to additional sources!



  • The history of mathematics from antiquity to the present : a selective annotated bibliography [print]
  • The history of mathematics from antiquity to the present : a selective annotated bibliography [print]
  • Mathematics through history : a resource guide [print]


Finding books

Search the library catalogue 

Search by keyword. Use keyword search with AND to combine your concepts and OR to combine synonyms. math* means you're searching all terms that begin with math (e.g. math, mathematics, mathematician, etc.). d:() means you're searching within the subject field. Try one of the example searches:

Search by subject heading. Find a a subject heading related to your topic by using Subject Heading Search, or try one of the following searches:

Finding journal articles

Think broadly; It's helpful to consider what fields are spanned by your research question, and therefore what databases may contain useful information. In addition to math databases, you may also want to consider searching history, science, or women's studies databases.

Some of these are index databases, which means the full-text of the article isn't included in the database. You'll notice "Where can I get this?" links that will point you the SFU Library's copy of the article. If this doesn't work, take a look at Finding a known article.

Suggested databases:

    Covers general science, history, mathematics. An emphasis on arts, humanities and social sciences.

Finding a known article

Try searching for the journal title using the library catalogue.

For example, to find this article:

Davvaz, B. (1999). Lower and upper approximations in Hv-groups. The Mathematica journal. 13, 71-86.

  • Search for The Mathematica journal in the catalogue.
  • You'll see an entry like the one below. Click on the title. 
  • If you see an "Access Journal" link, this will direct you to the e-journal. Click "Access Journal" on the next page, and then navigate the publisher's website using the Volume or Year of Publication to find your article.
  • If it's not an e-journal you'll see an entry like the one below, indicating where you can find it at the library.

If neither of the above works, request the item from another library.

Don't hesitate to use this if the SFU Library does not have an item you need! It generally takes 3-14 days for an item to arrive (but it's often closer to 3). Feel free to get in touch with Crystal Yin () if you need a hand!

Finding other source types

A common error is to restrict your searching to only certain formats (e.g. articles, books) when other source types might be equally useful to your research (e.g. institute reports, university archives).

Check out these websites:

  • The Galileo Project 
    Biographies of scientists from the 16th and 17th centuries; provided by Rice University.

Citing your sources

To cite your sources using Chicago style, try one of these guides:

Using LaTeX and BibTeX

For support on using LaTeX, check out these guides and handbooks: