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Gerstein Science Information Centre

History of Science and Medicine: A Source Guide

This guide includes a selection of resources, both print and electronic, covering both the history of science and of medicine. It attempts to create an awareness of sources of information both traditional and beyond.

Sources of Information

Armillary Sphere, an instrument used in astronomy. In its simplest form, consisting of a ring fixed in the plane of the equator, the armilla is one of the most ancient of astronomical instruments. Slightly developed, it was crossed by another ring fixed in the plane of the meridian." — The Encyclopedia Britannica, 1910

This guide will lead you to a variety of sources, both within the University of Toronto and beyond, that deal with the history of science and/or medicine.  No attempt has been made to be exhaustive but rather to steer the reader beyond the customary to new avenues in the pursuit of information.

Searching broad subjects like "science" and "medicine" can be useful as starting points, giving an overview of possibilities.  However, there are numerous potential paths to follow when searching for information.  These include specialized databases, specialized libraries, museums, digital repositories (and more!), with consideration given to disciplines such as astronomy, botany and chemistry; sub-disciplines such as anatomy, mechanics and electricity; time periods such as ancient, greco-roman and Victorian; diseases such as cholera, small pox and plague; material types such as theses, photographs and maps; events such as the American Civil War, the Industrial Revolution and so on.  Successful searching is not only about choosing the right databases, it is also about following all appropriate avenues to content and developing search strategies that will retrieve the most relevant information.