Course Guides


Now that it is mid-July, it is time to begin thinking about the fall-winter term (sorry!!).

Registration has been going on for a little while, and I have been checking the course schedules to see what is being offered when.  Some library search strategies sessions have already been arranged.  Professors tell me that when they make time for me in their classes, the papers that they get to read are better.  I hope that that means that people have been able to dive deeply into a topic, and that it has been a rewarding experience for them.  All this makes me feel good.

For the classes where I do teach, I make a course guide that is geared toward the topics and kinds of research assignments that students have to do for that class.  I have learned a lot by putting them together, so I hope that I am hitting the mark.  Students say that these guides have helped them to find materials that they otherwise would not have found, so I guess they are working.  I try to do more than just give lists of materials, since I can never know exactly what people will be researching: I try to offer some strategies for starting with those sources and branching out to others, or crafting their own searches.  To me, this seems to be a staple of feminist scholarship: to share insider information and how-to strategies that help others out.  I hope that I am carrying on that tradition.

These course guides may be useful for you, too, even if you are not in the class, since they do provide approaches to a particular topic.  If that topic is your topic, it could be a place to start.  Go to the Library’s home page and, in the “Research” column, check out “Course Guides”.  Perhaps you will find a really interesting topic and want to find out more…

I hope you are getting excited about the courses that you will be taking in the fall.  Enjoy the next few weeks and see you in the Library soon!

Graphic Novels

dangerous curvesgraphic womenwonder women

Have you ever considered studying social issues through the lens of a cultural product such as a graphic novel?  Did you know that we have a small collection of graphic novels in our library?

They are relatively easy to find, using the subject heading Graphic novels in the catalogue, but they will be moving to the second floor over the summer, so they will be even easier to find!  Here are a few analyses of graphic novels that may be of interest to Women’s and Gender Studies:

And here are some of our graphic novels which touch on women’s and gender issues:

Happy reading!  Are there titles which we should have in our graphic novel collection?  Please send details to janet dot hempstead at carleton dot ca and I will see what we can do about it!

International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia


To honour the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, a few recent resources from the Library’s collection on LGBTQ issues in Canada:

To find out what is trending in scholarly research, try searching the tables of contents for issues of sexuality studies journals, in particular

[image courtesy of]

Articles from the World Bank


We have a subscription to the World Bank e-Library.  I just received an alert about the “recommended readings” page.  The topic lists engage a number of areas of interest to feminist researchers, such as:

  • Gender
  • Women and Children’s Health
  • Climate Change
  • Microfinance
  • Sustainable Urban Development

If you are on campus, you should be able to access these resources without the proxy server.  If you are not on campus, you may need to search the titles in the World Bank e-Library.

These articles look really interesting.  I hope you enjoy them, and find them useful.  The World Bank is also taking suggestions for topics to be added to the page, so if you have ideas, take a moment to drop them a line…. email is on the topics page mentioned above.

So… you made it to March

Congratulations!  You are going to go the distance, and this is a big deal.  Getting through the school year can be a struggle, but there is help.  Since you are likely in the middle of writing research papers, here are some things that might help:

  1. Writing Tutorial Service: if you are having trouble thinking through how you want to plan your paper, make an appointment to work it out with a writing tutor.
  2. Check your course outline and find out what citation style is required.  We have guides to help you out, and if you are using MLA or APA there is the Purdue Online Writing Lab.
  3. Remember that the A paper considers all possible points of view, so analyzing research papers from international organizations or government reports using the theory that you learned in class is a great idea.  Also statistical data or visual data from maps can supplement well the points that you want to make.
  4. We have staplers and hole punches at the Library Services Desk.
  5. Find a study partner and book a group study room.  Share feedback on your drafts.
  6. There is amnesty for overdue fines until the end of day on Monday March 14.
  7. If you need help with doing research, contact us right away.  Do not delay!

And lastly,

  1. Think healthy!  Wash your hands before you eat to save you from getting sick at the last minute.  Eat your veggies.  Get a little exercise on a regular basis.  Go easy on the coffee: make sure you can get good quality sleep, particularly since we are going to lose an hour this weekend.  But if you need it, the Starbuck’s at the Library is open

Take care of yourself, and best wishes for the rest of the year.


Canadian women and capital punishment

I was reviewing a list of new book records added to the catalogue recently and came across this title:  Women and capital punishment in the United States  : an analytical history.  It made me wonder: what kind of coverage do we have about women and capital punishment in Canada?  So I thought I would check it out.  Here is how I did it; how would you approach it?

My first term is women, but I also want to include alternate ways of naming female human beings, so I added girls and females.  My concept became:

wom*n OR girl* OR fem*

Remember that the * allows you to replace any number of characters, to capture a family of words which reduces the amount that you have to type.  wom*n stands for woman, women, or womyn; girl* stands for girl, girls, girlhood… and fem* stands for female, females, feminine… (and in fact you might want to narrow that term to female*, but I didn’t this time around).

I want capital punishment to be searched as a phrase, so I put it in quotation marks:

“capital punishment”

and I captured the notion of Canadian-ness by using the term


When you have alternate choices for terms within your concept (as I did for women), tell the database so by using the operator OR to join these terms together.  This will broaden the search and allow for different expressions of your concept.  If you have more than one term in your concept, place the concept in round brackets so that the database knows that it is a concept.  Actually, you can place the concept in round brackets anyway.

When you want to require more than one concept to appear in your search results, join the concepts using the operator AND.  This tells the database that there is no choice here (it narrows the search).  So I searched the catalogue for

(wom*n OR girl* OR fem*) AND (“capital punishment”) AND (Canad*)

I found these:

This is a good start.  The subject headings give me an indication of the themes in these books, as well as pointing to related materials.

If I were looking for journal articles, I would check out CBCA Complete, and America: History and Life, but of course you can also use Summon for this kind of search, too.  The kind of search I developed for the catalogue will work in most databases, but I may find different subject headings in the results depending on the database where I am doing the searching.  Where else would you try?  Law?  Government Information?  Google Scholar?  Why would you search these places?  How would you find out about other potential searching places?

You can try this kind of approach with any topic.  Searches begin anywhere (in my case, with a list of books on a wide variety of topics) and end anywhere.  There is no wrong way to do research, so get out there and try your own.  Enjoy the journey!

Africa Knowledge Project

If you are taking the African Feminisms class, you may already know about the journal called JENdA: A Journal of Culture and African Women.  If you have accessed it, you may have noticed that it is a part of a larger collection known as the Africa Knowledge Project.  This collection contains six journals and four databases, all having to do with African social life and culture from an African perspective.  It complements our other databases which tend to be from a North American perspective.  Check it out!