Answered By: Kealin McCabe
Last Updated: Jun 08, 2020     Views: 150

There are several ways to look for primary sources, but it depends on what you need. UNBC provides a very helpful Primary Source Identification Guide that can help you get started.

Scroll down for more specific information on different types of primary sources.

Primary Sources from the Northern British Columbia Archives

Students, staff and faculty at UNBC have the unique opportunity to access primary source materials through the Northern British Columbia Archives. For information on how to access the materials and to search what is available, click here.


For historical documents from around the world from various time periods:
Use the library catalogue:

  • Search by the topic and limit the publication date to the earliest known date

Memoirs, Letters, and Diaries:

Use the library catalogue and search by:

  • The individual's name as author

Search by the headings:

  • Correspondence (for letters)
  • Diaries
  • 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".


Use the library catalogue and search by:

  • The 'topic' and interview (Boolean)
  • The individual's name and interview (Boolean)

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 peform a keyword search by typing in "Interview and Atwood".

 Magazines and Journal Articles:

Click on the Indexes and Databases link located on the library homepage to search the periodicals


Search the library catalogue by the title of the journal or magazine


Question: I am looking for the original publication of the article "MITOCHONDRIAL DNA MUTATIONS AS AN IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTOR TO AGEING AND DEGENERATIVE DISEASES". I believe it was published in the Lancet, Volume 333, Issue 8639, 25 March 1989, Pages 642-645. How do I find that?

Answer: Begin by searching the library catalogue by the title of the journal, "The Lancet". Click on the result title that is accompanied by the software symbol. This indicates that the information is available online. Once you are in the bibliographic record, select the database in which the journal articles are indexed. Once you have entered the database, simply look for the Volume, the Issue, and then the page numbers. 


The Weller Library subscribes to a number of  databases, which allow students to search for both current and historical news items. For a list of newspaper databases click here

Question: I need to find newspaper articles from the Globe and Mail covering the October Crisis 1970, the FLQ, and Trudeau? Where should I look?


Answer: Select newspapers from the indexes and databases page and you will be brought to a list of databases the library subscribes to. Because you are looking for articles published in the Globe and Mail, you will wish to select the database called Globe and Mail : Canada's heritage from 1844. Once you are in the database you will want to search using the terms "October Crisis" and FLQ and Trudeau, begining with the date 1970 October.


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