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History - Canadian: Primary Sources

This guide outlines books, article databases and other sources to guide students and faculty researching a topic within the field of Canadian History.

Primary Sources

TRU Library contains a number of materials that house primary sources in Canadian history. This page outlines how to locate primary source documents at the TRU Library. It includes information on:

  • finding primary sources via the TRU Library catalogue and Discover
  • locating historical newspaper articles
  • locating historical statistics
  • suggested online sources of primary sources on general topics, BC history, and pre- and post-Confederation.

Through Discover & the TRU Library Catalogue

Discover

Two options (and you will get very different results, so try both):

Option 1:

Run your search and then click on the "show more" link under the "Content Type" option to refine your results. Select "Primary Source Documents" and then click on the update" button

Option 2:

Run your search and then click on the "Advanced Search" link underneath the search box. In the second box, add one of the following subheadings to limit your search results:

  • correspondence
  • diaries
  • early works to 1800
  • interviews
  • pamphlets
  • personal narratives
  • sources

Note: "sources" is the most useful term

TRU Library Catalogue

In the TRU Library catalogue, run your keyword search and then "AND" one of the following subheadings to limit your search to primary sources:

  • correspondence
  • diaries
  • early works to 1800
  • interviews
  • pamphlets
  • personal narratives
  • sources

TIP: It works best if you use SUBJECT searching rather than keyword (i.e., word or phrase) searching. In the catalogue, locate the correct subject heading for your topic and then add ONE of subheadings above to limit your search to primary sources. To do this, make sure your terms have the word “Subject” in the drop-down box next to the search box.

For example, if you wish to do a search for primary sources on ntaive peoples, use:

history AND indians of north america AND sources

To find letters by immigrants try:

immigrants AND Canada AND correspondence

Historical Newspapers

Online Historical Newspapers:

Print/Microfilm Newspapers at the TRU Library: 

  • Victoria Times Colonist (KAM microfilm: 1858-1982)
  • Vancouver Sun (KAM microfilm: 1912-present)
  • Globe and Mail (KAM microfilm: 1978-present)
  • Inland Sentinel (KAM microfilm: 1880-1916)
  • Kamloops Standard (KAM microfilm: 1897-1910)
  • Kamloops Telegram (KAM microfilm: 1916-1924)
  • Kamloops Standard-Sentinel (KAM microfilm: 1916-1924)
  • Kamloops Sentinel (KAM microfilm: 1924-1955)
  • Kamloops Daily Sentinel (KAM microfilm: 1955-1987)
  • Kamloops Daily News (KAM microfilm: 1965-2008) (paper copies from 2008 - 2014)

To find articles in the Vancouver Province, Vancouver Sun, Victoria Daily Colonist, and Victoria Daily Times, use the British Columbia Provincial Library newspaper index (KAM mircrofilm indexes 1900-1970, 1971-1980; available online from 1991 - 2007)

The Kamloops Museum and Archives has an index of articles published in the Kamloops Daily News prior to 1988.

Statistical Information

Statistics (e.g., Census Canada Statistics) are considered primary sources of information. TRU has access to a number of statistical databases including:

Online Resources - General

The Internet has lots of primary sources, but it is very important to look at who is providing the digitized content. The recommended sources listed below have primary documents on many subject areas in Canadian History. Be sure to use the tips in the "Through Discover & the TRU Library Catalogue" (left) to locate many more primary sources. Please note: E-Books are restricted to current TRU students, staff and faculty.

Online Resources - British Columbia

The Internet has lots of primary sources, but it is very important to look at who is providing the digitized content. In addition to the suggested general resources listed at the top of the page, here are some recommended sources with primary documents on many subject areas in BC History:

  TIP: Check out the websites for local museums in specific Canadian communities to locate more primary resources

Online Resources - Pre-Confederation

The Internet has lots of primary sources, but it is very important to look at who is providing the digitized content. In addition to the suggested general resources listed at the top of the page, here are some recommended sources with primary documents on many subject areas in Pre-Confederation Canadian History:

Online Resources - Post-Confederation

The Internet has lots of primary sources, but it is very important to look at who is providing the digitized content. In addition to the suggested general resources listed at the top of the page, here are some recommended sources with primary documents on many subject areas in Post-Confederation Canadian History:

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