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Research Guides

UC One: Engaging Toronto

A guide to researching Toronto and urban issues.

Books on urban studies at the UC Library

Laidlaw Library at UC has hundreds of books about cities and urban studies.


-- At Laidlaw Library (UC) and other libraries, the books about cities and urban issues are scattered throughout the various Library of Congress sections such as H (Social Sciences), NA (Architecture), etc.

-- However, some of the books on urban issues are shelved together in the following sections that you might like to browse:

HT101-395: Urban groups.  The city.  Urban sociology

JS: Municipal government

Searching for books on urban studies

You can find books by clicking the Catalogue tab on the UofT Libraries home page.

To find a specific book, search by title (or if you don't know the title, try author).

To find books on a topic, it's a good idea to search anywhere (which will search the title, author, subject, and sometimes the table of contents).

E.g. here's what you get if you search for city planning, anywhere:

They are sorted by "Relevance," but if you want you can re-sort by clicking the "Publication Date" heading:

On the left of the screen you can "Refine Results." E.g. under "Library," you see the 5 libraries with the most items; if you click "View more" you can see all the UofT libraries and select one, e.g. the Architecture library:

You can continue to Refine Results.  E.g. under Subject you might select "Plazas":

And then under Language you might select "English"::

Now you have a manageable number of items.

You can remove an element of your search at any time by clicking the little orange x next to that element. E.g. you might change your mind about limiting to the Architecture Library:


If you click "Advanced Search" you will see a search box marked "Option 2: Boolean."  Here you can combine concepts and synonyms in complicated ways, e.g:

     (cities OR urban) AND (transportation OR transit)

In the Hot Topics section of this guide, most of the suggested searches are this kind of "Boolean" search.

BUT please note that in the UofT Catalogue this kind of search ONLY works in the Boolean search box, it doesn't work in the regular catalogue search box.  Also, in our catalogue you can only include ten search words in a Boolean search.


In the Hot Topics section of this guide, you'll find links to suggested searches from the UC Librarian, to help you find scholarly articles on particular topics.

To search for articles yourself, here are two options:

OPTION 1 (SUMMON): When you want to do a quick search to find a few articles on your topic, OR when you already know the title of the article you want:

From the UofT Libraries home page, click the "Articles" tab. This takes you to a tool called Summon which searches the full text of many journal articles. It's a good way to get full-text articles quickly, but it's not so good when you're doing more thorough or in-depth research, and often the results don't seem too relevant.
Hint: Optionally, you can click "Limit to articles from scholarly publications." 
Hint: If you're not getting relevant results, try clicking "Advanced Search" and then searching in the "Title" field.

Note: The "All" search box on the UofT Libraries home page also gives you article results from Summon.

OPTION 2 (SPECIALIZED ARTICLE DATABASES): When you need to do more thorough or in-depth research, OR when your quick search didn't get you enough relevant articles:

From the UofT Libraries home page, click "Subjects A-Z," then select your broad topic,  (e.g., Urban Studies or Canada or Sexual Diversity Studies). You'll find recommended article databases tailored to that broad topic. (We subscribe to hundreds of specialized article databases.)

Option 2 takes longer than Option 1, but often it will find you more articles that are relevant for your subject.

Here are direct links to a few article databases you may find particularly useful for researching Toronto or urban issues:

Recommended article databases for UC One (scholarly journal articles):

These databases are especially good for finding scholarly journal articles in particular areas of study (although they may contain some newspaper and magazine articles too).

Recommended databases for UC One (newspaper articles):

And don't forget you can also ask librarians for help finding articles about your topic.