The original Early Canadiana Online (ECO) research platform, launched in 1999 and beginning to show its age, is being replaced with a faster and more flexible site in June 2012. For the first time, individuals unaffiliated with a research institution can sign up for ECO accounts and receive the sum of Canada's documentary heritage at their fingertips.
ECO is Canadiana's flagship database. It provides a repository and Web access to four million pages of documentary heritage, including government documents, books, pamphlets and magazines from the time of the first European settlers to the early 20th century.
The first thing to note about the new ECO is that it represents a ground-up overhaul of the search platform and associated databases. Long-time users will notice a variety of technical and interface improvements, the most obvious being faster, more accurate searching and navigation. This is because, in the background, the new database makes smarter use of document metadata to generate results.
Also to be discovered are more tools and options, including wild-card searches, complex Booleans, and filtering by document type, collection, or language. Researchers can manipulate search results in new ways: a chaotic list of records, for example, takes on new sense and clarity when sorted by publication date, language, or type of record.
Among the new user features are secure connections, personalized user accounts, and a simple online subscription option. In time, this platform will embrace user-generated content such as comments, recommendations, tags, collecting, and sharing, while user account options will permit researchers to build and customize their own personal libraries of digital documents.
Canadiana is committed to consulting its users to obtain ongoing feedback and suggestions for adding more options, features, and improvements to the platform.
Subscribed to the old ECO?
We are transferring existing accounts to the new platform to make sure every subscriber can make use of the added features. If you prefer to stay on the traditional ECO for the moment, have no fear: your access has not been suspended. We will, however, retire the old site by 1 June 2012. Please note that new accounts are not backward-compatible: once an account is activated on the new platform, changes to account information on the new site will not affect the old site, and vice versa.