Learning Module #1
- What secondary resources are
- Why they are useful
- What secondary resources are available for research on the Rideau Canal
You have likely used many secondary resources in the past – these are usually printed or published books and texts comprised of research done by other people. This type of resource generally includes the interpretations, opinions, and biases of the people who wrote it. It is based on original document research and discovery. Normally, secondary sources are found in libraries, but they may also be located in archives and museum collections as part of reference collections.
Useful secondary resources used in our research:
- Watson, K. W. (2007). The Rideau route: Exploring the pre-canal waterway. Elgin, Ont: K. W. Watson.
- Passfield, R. W. (1980). Engineering the defence of the Canadas: Lt. Col. John By and the Rideau Canal. Parks Canada: Manuscript Report Series, No. 425, Ottawa: Parks Canada, 479 p., illus.
Check the bibliography of resources used to research Heritage Passages.
Look at the titles of the publications.
Compile a list of potential search terms you could use to search databases, archival repositories, and library holdings for Rideau Canal–related material.
- Look at the titles of the books – these will give you potential search terms you can use when looking for other resources.
- Look at the dates when books were published – often there is a cluster of books produced on a topic around a given year to mark anniversaries, specific events, and birthdates. The 150th anniversary of the Rideau Canal was in 1982. Do you see more books published in that year?
- Look at author names – the authors may repeat and additional books may be written by the same author.
- A given repository may have some books, but not all of them. You may have to visit more than one repository, institution, or library to get all the sources that you want. Thorough research requires time and possibly the consultation of more than one repository, so give yourself time to find all the sources you need.
- Notice where the material was produced. Take a sampling of some of those sources for deeper research by going directly to source websites (if any) to see if they have more material.
Check repositories consulted in the bibliographies and citations found on the exhibit archives and research section for Heritage Passages.
- Select one of the listed libraries, such as the Archives of Ontario, Carleton University Library, or Library and Archives Canada, and try searching for one of the titles listed in the bibliography.
Not all secondary sources will be found in a given library. Finding specific sources may require deeper research in specialized collections and repositories, the use of inter-library loans at a university library, or outreach to a government agency for institutionally produced material that is now out of print. This is one of the challenges of deep research when secondary sources are no longer recent publications.
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