Welcome to the History subject guide at Carleton University Library.

Explore your topic

Introducing Summon - which makes it possible to search across many of the library's collections simultaneously. Including books, ebooks, journal titles, games, music, videos, government information, maps, and more.

However,  Summon doesn't search everything that the library owns or subscribes to so you will still need to search other resources to find everything that you need. Summon also doesn't let you do sophisticated searches that you may be used to doing in specific databases or the library catalogue.  

When to use Summon

  • When starting research on a topic
  • If you are not sure which databases to use

For assistance using Summon please contact the Research Help Desk.


Journal Articles

Key Databases for Journal Articles: 

Click on the Databases tab to view the list of other sources for finding journal articles in history.


Select Journals: 

Eighteenth Century Collections Online

Periodicals Archive Online (PAO)
Online archive of digitized, full-image journal articles offering access to international scholarly literature in the humanities and social sciences disciplines from 1802 to 1995

Journal of the Canadian Historical Association

American Historical Review

English Historical Review



Archives & Primary Sources

Primary Sources: 

A primary source is a document or physical object which was written or created during the period being studied. These sources were present during an experience or time period and offer an inside view of a particular event.  Also included are works created later by an eyewitness or a participant in an event, e.g. memoirs/autobiographies.

Types of primary sources:

  • Original documents (including excerpts and translations): diaries, speeches, manuscrips, letters, interviews, news film footage, autobiographies, official records, ancient literature, magazine and newspaper articles.
  • Creative works: poetry, drama, novels, printed music, sound recordings, art.
  • Relics or artefacts: pottery, furniture, clothing, buildings.
  • Statistics and raw data
  • Reproductions, facsimiles or replicas of original documents, creative works or artefacts are also acceptable as primary sources.

Examples of primary sources:

Finding primary sources in the library collection

   1. Original documents can be found by consulting the Archives and Research Collections (ARC) website.
   2. Reproductions can be found by checking the library catalogue.

Use specific words to locate primary sourcees in the Library catalogue, such as: correspondence, sources, diaries, letters, personal naratives. KEYWORD search examples:

  • [PERSON’S NAME] and s:correspondence
  • [PERSON’S NAME] and s:diaries
  • [PERSON’S NAME] and s:letters
  • [KEYWORD] and s:sources

In the library's electronic and microform collections

The library has many online and microform collections of primary sources, including newspapers.  See the various country-specific Subject Guides for more information.

Centre for Research Libraries

The Center for Research Libraries (CRL)
A great institution to check for historical documents, newspapers, journals, archives and other sources. "The Center for Research Libraries (CRL) is a consortium of North American universities, colleges, and independent research libraries. The consortium acquires and preserves newspapers, journals, documents, archives, and other traditional and digital resources for research and teaching and makes them available to member institutions through interlibrary loan and electronic delivery." Carleton University Library is a mermber of CRL.



Citing Primary Sources : Chicago Style (Library of Congress)

Government Information


The Government Documents collection contains over 1.3 million items.  The strongest collection areas are: Canadian Federal, Canadian Provincial, Intergovernmental International Organizations and European Union publications.

Staff at the information desk in MADGIC will assist you to identify primary sources for your research and assignment needs, and help you to use them efficiently.

Avalon Project: Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy

House of Commons Parliamentary Papers (HCPP)

U.S. Congressional Serial Set (1817-1980) with American State Papers (1789-1838)




Collection of streaming educational videos that cover a wide spectrum of disciplines. Contains both clips and full-length videos.

For video material at the Carleton Univeristy library, do a KEYWORD search in the library catalogue and limit "Material Type" to FILM/VIDEO. If you cannot find what you need search the following database:

If you wish to borrow a video listed in Watmedia please fill out our Interfilm Video Request form - do not submit requests directly to Watmedia.

Free online documentaries