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Primary Sources and Where to Find Them
Newspapers are great primary sources as they provide information about a historical event and often include information on public opinion. Newspapers are also great for advertisements, political cartoons, and opinion pieces. Keep in mind the bias of the newspaper and reporter and make sure that the newspaper article/item that you choose is not too far removed from the event it describes.
Newspapers: Print and Mircoform
This is by no means a comprehensive list of UNBC Library's newspaper collections. The following are some of our largest and oldest newspaper collections:
British Library Newspapers
The database includes 70 British newspapers from the 19th century, covering topics as diverse as business, sports, politics, and entertainment.
BC historical newspapers
BC historical newspapers is a collection of British Columbia's earliest newspapers from 1865 to 1926.
Canadian historical newspapers
This is a list of freely accessible Canadian historical newspapers compiled by SFU library staff. The Google document this record links to provides a title list and the URLs for each title.
This database provides full access to the articles, columns, editorials and features published in a variety of Canadian newspapers, many with extensive backfiles. Database content is updated daily.
Globe and Mail : Canada's heritage from 1844
Our access to the Globe and Mail starts in June 1844 and includes all the stories published before December 2012 plus thousands of images advertisements classifieds political cartoons births and deaths.
ICON : International Coalition on Newspapers
ICON is a directory of newspaper digitization projects from around the world.
The Prince George Newspapers Project is a digitization project initiative to provide online digital access to the historical newspapers of Prince George British Columbia by three libraries: the Prince George Public Library the College of New Caledonia Library and the Geoffrey R. Weller Library at UNBC.
Points to the past
Points to the Past provides British Columbia residents access to historical primary sources such as newspapers diaries government documents manuscripts photos and maps. Collections of note include: the Declassified Documents Reference System comprised of government policies and meeting minutes from post-World War II Slavery and Anti-Slavery: a transnational archive a comprehensive collection of the scholarly study of slavery and British Literary Manuscripts Online which includes rare manuscripts poems correspondence diaries and essays from the 12th century to the Victorian era.
Times digital archive 1785-1985
The Times is the world's newspaper of record and covers all major international historical events from the French Revolution to the Falkland War. The Times Digital Archive 1785-1985 is an online historical archive delivering every page as published from 200 years of The Times users are able to search the full-text of the entire newspaper including articles editorials and advertising.
Use the library catalogue and search by:
- The 'topic' and interview
- The individual's name and interview
- Topic and oral history
Question: I am looking for an interview with a Canadian author, specifically Margaret Atwood. Does this exist and where would I find it?
Answer: Go to the library catalogue and perform a keyword search by typing in "Interview and Atwood".
Search the Northern BC Archives database for "interview" to find unpublished oral history interviews.
Use the library catalogue and search by:
- The individual's name as author
Search by the headings:
- Correspondence (for letters)
- Personal Narratives
Question: I am looking for primary sources relating to Leon Trotsky. Where do I look?
Answer: Go to the library catalogue and perform a keyword search typing in "Diary and Trotsky"
Sourcebooks are great resources as they are compellations of primary sources on one general topic such as:
Notice that sourcebooks can be described in multiple ways. Some titles will specifically identify themselves as a sourcebook, others simply state that they are a collection of texts, sources, or documents, while some do not give any hint of their contents. Due to this inconsistency sourcebooks can be difficult to find in the library catalogue.
Using the example of Renaissance woman: a sourcebook: constructions of femininity in England edited by Kate Aughterson, notice that all the subject headings for this book end in "Sources."
Find sourcebooks by doing an Advanced Search and search for Sources under Subject Terms. Search for your relevant keywords in other fields and refine your search to the library catalogue. You could also search for History under Subject Terms as most of the subject headings for this book include History. Other keywords could include the region, era, or topic to refine your search, for example: (SubjectTerms:(sources AND history AND women AND medieval AND Europe)).
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