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Undergraduate Help - All Text: Finding Other Information Sources

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Searching the Archives

Using the Archives

Finding Primary Sources

Searching MSpace

Finding Microdata

Finding/Using GIS Tools

Finding Maps

Get Subject Specific Help

Searching the Archives

The University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections has a wide variety of collections including private and institutional records.

To help you navigate through these collections we have online finding aids for both private and university records. A finding aid is a description of the records included in a given collection. It describes the content and arrangement of the collection, and provides information on the creator of the records. The finding aid will also let you know what material can or cannot be accessed.

For some collections, more details can be found under the “Finding aid” section by following the link beginning with UA – which signifies that the finding aid describes University records.

Here, you will find information to help you locate what you’re interested in. For example, Reunion and Homecoming Programs for the Faculty of Agriculture can be found in box three, folder one in the Faculty of Agriculture fonds.

Finding aids for private records provide similar information on records donated by individuals and organizations outside of the University.

Some finding aids will display differently but they provide similar information on the collection and its contents.

Some descriptions include multiple links under “Finding Aids” The alpha-numeric designation at the beginning of the link provides information on what type of records are described in the finding aid. An MSS number designates a private records collection. EL numbers describe electronic records. TC numbers describe audio-visual material, Mff numbers describe Microfilm or Microfiche. MC numbers describe items stored in our map cabinets. And PC numbers describe photographs, negatives and slides. 

Each link will provide you with a description of the folders in each box.

Some Finding Aids will provide you with more tools to navigate the collection. 

For example, the Winnipeg Tribune Finding aid provides a link to a webpage where you can access digitized editions of the Tribune, and news clippings and photographs from the paper.

If you need further assistance, or if you would like to access records described in our finding aids, our staff can help you find the records relevant to your research. Any information you can provide on the collection, including box and folder numbers, will help us retrieve the records of interest. Or, visit our digital archives and see if the material you are looking for is available online.

Using the Archives

This tutorial will help you get started on your research with the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections. 

First, it is important to know where the Archives are located.  The Archives has moved from its old location to a brand new facility on the 3rd floor of the Elizabeth Dafoe Library.

Once inside the library, turn right & walk past the circulation desk. Head up the staircase to the 3rd floor.  There is a map at the top of the staircase showing the floor plan.  The Archives are situated next to the Icelandic Collection.

Once in the archives, you can hang up your coat and store your bag in a locker.  An archivist will be at the reception desk to help you with your request.  Tell him you are new to the archives and he will help you find material on your topic.

The archives contains records on all kinds of subjects in a wide variety of formats, including diaries, letters, drawings, photographs, maps, rare books, audio and video recordings, and more.

Finding Primary Sources

The University of Manitoba Libraries has a new online guide for students searching for primary sources

You can access the Primary Sources guide from the subject guides button on the main page. In the search bar you can type 'Primary Source Collections" to open up the main page. 

There you will find 6 links to information on how to access a wide range of historical materials available at UofM Libraries, Archives & Special Collections, and many digital archives around the world. 

The Digital Collections page has links to several searchable databases. Many rare documents and out of print books can be found at the Center for Research Libraries, the Internet Archive and Hathi Trust. These are great places to start your research. The databases listed below contain documents related to specific regions and historical periods. You can scroll over the database titles for a brief description of their contents. 

Extensive collections of primary sources are also available in microform at Elizabeth Dafoe Library. These include several long runs of historical newspapers and periodicals that can be browsed and searched using digital scanners in the library. 

Additional collections of newspapers and historical magazines are available in either print or digital formats. 

If you are looking for Canadian, American, European and other international government documents see the libraries guide for Government Publications

And you are welcome to visit the Archives and Special collections where you can search thousands of primary sources related to Manitoban, Western Canadian and Indigenous History, as well as other rare items not found in other libraries and archives.

If you need any assistance with searching for primary sources, a librarian or archivist will be happy to help you. 

Searching MSpace

This tutorial will teach you how to search MSpace at using three methods: the Search box, the Discover Box and browsing by Community. 

When you visit MSpace, you should see a grey bar with a search box that has “Search All MSpace” in it. You can enter any terms here: author, title, full text, subject, date issued, graduation date, department, degree, or exam committee members.

If you enter a search term, you’ll get a list of results. If you look at the Search dropdown menu, you’ll see that you can narrow your results by running the search again in a particular section of MSpace. By default, your first search is in all of MSpace. If you see a section that seems applicable, go ahead and choose it and click the magnifying glass to search again. 

You can also limit your search by adding filters. Click on “Add filters” to bring up a dropdown menu of options to refine your search results. You can choose from: title, author, subject, date issued, graduation date, department, degree, or exam committee members. 

Once you’ve chosen an option, use the second dropdown menu to select from: contains, equals, ID, not contains, not equals and not ID.

Finally, enter in a term or number that you want to find, or don’t want to find, and click apply. 

If you see a file in the results list that looks interesting, click on it, and you’ll see a page describing the item in detail. To see the file in the item, click View/Open beside the file name.

You can also search MSpace using the Discover box on the left side of the main page. The Discover box presents three categories of items: Author, Subject, and Date Issued. If you see a term that suits you, go ahead and click it for a list of results.

If none of the authors or subjects fit your search, you can click on the “View More” links beneath the lists. This will take you to an alphabetical list of authors or subjects that you can either page through, jump to the first letter, or search by a “starts with” search. 

The third way you can search is by selecting a Community. The main page shows all of the communities within MSpace. Select one of them to see a page with a search box that will give you results only from that specific community. 

Finding Microdata

Microdata, also known as survey data, can be useful data for researchers in the social sciences and humanities. This data is mainly original data containing individual records in survey samples. Public Use Microdata Files account for the majority of microdata used by researchers and other data users. Some well-known examples are Census of Canada and government surveys.

As the data sets are so large, using statistical software such as SPSS, Stata or SAS to extract and analyze the data is advisable.

You can locate various sources of microdata on the University of Manitoba Libraries’ Survey Data LibGuide.

From the Libraries homepage: Click the Subject Guides tab.

Enter the phrase “survey data” in the search box and click search.

Click on the Survey data link.

For Canadian microdata, specifically Stats Can surveys, use odesi. For general Canadian surveys, such as Canadian Commmunity Health Surveys, use SDA at CHASS.  For international surveys, use ICPSR. Make sure you set up an account in order to access data.

If you need help using these tools or have advanced questions on microdata, please contact your subject librarian for help.

Finding/Using GIS Tools

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are computer and mobile based systems used to capture, store, manage, analyze, use and display spatial or geographic data. With GIS, researchers can monitor trends and see what is happening in geographic space via electronic maps and 3D views, communicating information pertinent to specific locations.

GIS has emerged as an important technology for decision-making and analysis and has wide-spread use in many applications. It has been used to identify neighborhoods at risk, to follow political donations, for real estate site selection, for improved communication among emergency services, or for monitoring oil spills and/or resource extraction. It often is used in combination with multimedia to track journeys of artists or fictional characters, or the advance of civilizations using archaeological evidence. GIS may track wellness, bird populations and territories, slave trade migrations, road maintenance, or agricultural production.

The University of Manitoba is well equipped to help faculty, staff and students learn about and use GIS. The UM offers degrees in environmental studies, geography and geomatics. GIS software is installed in many labs on campus and free one-year GIS licenses are available to UM affiliates. Installed software in the library labs includes ArcGIS, AutoCAD 15, Geomatica 2015, Google Earth Pro and GeoViewer.

The UM Libraries also has orthophoto imagery of the city of Winnipeg, topographic data for Manitoba, census of Canada, the US geological survey, environmental data, Stats Canada, GeoBase, and Federal Electoral Districts, to name a very few. Some data sources, such as Winnipeg imagery, and DMTI Spatial Inc.’s resources, have restrictions on who can use them, and for what purpose. A full listing of available resources and their restrictions can be viewed at 

Also on the guide, you can find tips on making maps and contact info for the GIS Environmental Studies librarian. Please contact her for help, license agreements, and information on tutorials and workshops.

Finding Maps

The UM Libraries have a collection of thousands of maps, housed in Elizabeth Dafoe Library. They’re stored in map cabinets, all along the hallway opposite the group study rooms. 

The maps aren’t catalogued, so you can’t search for them in One Stop Search. Instead, use the map indexes and drawer labels to find what you want.

You’ll find maps of Canada in two sizes, maps of Winnipeg and Manitoba, the World, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the US, among others. 

Along the tops of the map cabinets, you’ll see the Canadian map indexes. They’re maps of Canada in a small format. You can use them to pinpoint a particular spot in the country. Once you do that, you then use the particular letters and numbers to refer to a specific map. Pulling the map out of the drawer will reveal a map of the particular spot in great detail. 

The rest of the map collection is organized by broad headings. These maps, while detailed, don’t go into such fine detail as the Canadian maps. Simply find the state or country that you’re looking for using the drawer labels. When you find the right drawer, open it and take out the appropriate map.  

You can scan or photocopy the maps in the library. Once you’re done with the maps, just leave them out. Library staff will put them back in the right spot for the next user. 

Get Subject Specific Help

If you’re looking for subject specific help, each librarian has put together a page featuring information for your discipline, called a Subject Guide. 

Within each guide, you’ll find lists of important resources, contact information for the subject librarian, and tips for performing research in that area. 

To get started, navigate to the libraries’ homepage –

Select the Subject Guides button in the One Stop Search area.

This page provides several options for finding and navigating to subject guides. 

The easiest way to find a guide is to type in the subject area you’re looking for. 

Use broad terms – for example, if you’re looking for information on Personality Psychology, type in "Psychology".  

For information on Southeast Asian History, use "History". 

In our example, we’ll use History. There are several results for History. The bullet points underneath link to specific sub-pages within that guide. Click on the homepage for History.

Each subject guide will list various books, databases, and other resources that are relevant to your discipline. 
Many librarians also have links to helpful writing and citation resources. You can also find out who your subject librarian is and schedule an appointment with them. 

If you need help with making an appointment, check out our tutorial or help video on Scheduling an Appointment.