Title Text


Library Workshop

Me, your librarian

Finding and evaluating information

John Dingle

Help with....

Refining a research topic

Managing and citing sources

  • 2000-2500 words
  • 8+ sources
    • Book, journal article, primary source
    • Be judicious in the use of web resources

Research Paper

  • Library search tools
  • Search strategy and techniques
  • Primary sources
  • Evaluating and navigating web resources
  • Managing your sources


Library Search Tools

Broadest search


Get to know the filters


Ask Button for help

Books and ebooks


Good way to find related books


Subject-specific search engines

History of Science, Technology, and Medicine

Journal articles


Book chapters



Coverage: all time periods

Limited to:

2 simultaneous users

Other Databases

  • Historical Abstracts
    • world history
  • America: History and Life
    • history of North America
    • multidisciplinary
  • Early English Books Online (EEBO)
    • digitized printed works from 1473 - 1700
  • ARTStor
    • digitized images


Start at the library homepage: brocku.ca/library


Get to the list of all the "History" databases


Identify at least 1 more database that is relevant to this course

Search Strategy

1. Search techniques and keywords

2. Finding related items with subject headings



Go to JSTOR (hint: it's a "database")

With a partner, compare the results of each pair of searches.

Which returns more results? Can you explain the difference?


1. middle ages VS "middle ages"

2. islam VS islam*

3. indigenous OR native VS indigenous AND native


  1. Use quotation marks for phrase searches:  “early modern”
  2. Use truncation for variant word endings: arab* retrieves arab, arabs, arabic, arabian

  3. Use OR for synonyms:  indigenous OR native

  4. Use AND to combine two different concepts:  slaves AND missionaries


Subject Headings

Subject headings are a powerful way to find related items 

Primary sources

  • Published collections


  • Primary source databases

Primary sources

Add one of the following terms to your search in SuperSearch or the catalogue. They work best when you add them to a "subject" box:

  • personal narratives
  • sources ***
  • diaries
  • letters
  • correspondence
  • interviews

Primary sources

Primary Source Databases


Go to EEBO


Find this book: Edward Topsell, The history of four-footed beasts and serpents… 


Find an animal mentioned in Topsell


Find another book which mentions the same animal published AFTER Topsell's book


Please be back in 10 minutes

Evaluating Websites


Why does this resource exist?


Who wrote/produced/published it?


How current is it?


Are the author’s claims supported by evidence?

Based on York University SPARK handout: yorku.ca/spark/books_journals_more/PARCA%20Test_Final.pdf


Evaluating Websites - samples


Download the website evaluation activity here:



Complete individually, then compare with a partner. Discuss any differences in your analysis.

Navigating Websites

  • Look for navigation cues - edges of screen
  • Search on large pages - CTRL-F, Command-F
  • Be flexible
  • Use the browser URL, especially for older sites


Follow the instructions for your group here:

1 - bit.ly/2RqQzsk

2 - bit.ly/2RTwvnl

3 - bit.ly/2CL0zac

Be prepared to demonstrate your process in front of the class.

Managing your sources


  • Add sources as you find them
  • Store, organize, take notes on them
  • Generate and format citations in Chicago style

Research Guide

Research Help

Thank you!