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Why search for background information?
Before you start looking for scholarly books and articles, you should
spend some time doing a little background research. Using dictionaries,
encyclopedias and biographical resources can help you to understand the
major issues, themes, people, events and scope of your research topic. Resources on this page are particularly useful for providing context
and background information in the area of Canadian Studies.
Use keywords "biography" and "Canada" to find biographical resources in the UW Libraries catalog or ask a reference librarian for assistance. Some basic biographical resources are listed below.
The Canadian Who's Who
Print guide of comprehensive biographical information available on leading and influential Canadians. (I know, right? Canadians who are leading! And influential!)
Dictionary of Canadian biography
Online biographies of important figures in Canadian history who died between the years 1000 and 1930 or whose last known date of activity falls within these years.
Online biographies of select, notable Canadian women.
Encyclopedias & handbooks
Use the UW Libraries catalog to find directories, encyclopedias, handbooks and statistics. Use directories and canada or encyclopedias and canada as keywords. Basic resources are listed below.
Canada Year Book - Historical Collection
The Government of Canada's annual yearbook covering the first century of Canada's history, from 1867 to 1967, with historical text, statistics, tables, charts and maps. (PDF)
Canadian almanac and directory
Print almanac chock full o' facts about Canada. Good for statistics.
The Canadian Encyclopedia
Online encyclopedia contains 20,000 articles on all aspects of Canada. What was Glenn Gould's middle name? Was Rocket Richard Canada's response to Apollo? You'll find it here.
Canadian parliamentary guide (2008 ed.)
Online guide to federal, provincial and territorial governments, courts, and their elected and appointed members. Provides descriptions of each of the institutions, including brief historical information and biographical sketches of their members and staff.
Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles
Provides a historical record of words and expressions characteristic of the various spheres of Canadian life during the almost four centuries that English has been used in Canada.
Encyclopedia of British Columbia (2000 ed.)
Print encyclopedia with more than 4,000 entries.
History of Canada
Online narrative that weaves the country's immense geography, political struggles, and regional, cultural and ethnic diversity into the complex reality of Canada.
Oxford companion to Canadian history
Online guide to the significant events, issues, institutions, places, and people that have shaped Canada from earliest times to the present.