Library agreement opens up wealth of digital content

December 04, 2014

B.C. residents now have free access to almost 200 million pages of digital historical content dating back to the Middle Ages, thanks to a new agreement between the Simon Fraser University Library, the UBC and UVic libraries and educational publisher Gale-Cengage Learning.

The new Points to the Past initiative expands free access through public, educational and museum libraries to all Gale Digital Collections including periodicals such as The Economist and The Financial Times, Associated Press content and materials from The Smithsonian Institution.

Residents can also explore the Indigenous Peoples: North America, Nineteenth Century Collections Online and Eighteenth Century Collections Online databases—considered essential resources for academic researchers.

“Until now, only a small selection of these documents have been available to the SFU community through previous purchase, and none to the wider community,” says Gwen Bird, SFU’s dean of libraries.

“This agreement dramatically increases access for the university community and the general public to this treasure trove of digitized historical material, reinforcing our commitment to student, research and community engagement and to life-long learning.”

All of the materials will be delivered via Gale's Artemis: Primary Sources platform, which means the collections are cross-searchable and leverage advanced research features such as graphing and search visualization tools.

Students, faculty and staff can access and start using the digital historical archives by visiting the SFU library website at or the Points to the Past website at

To explore and gain a better understanding of each database, visit

For info about accessing or using the collections, contact Sandra Wong at