Rhode Island College professor, Russell Potter has some very positive words to say about the recent launch of the Canadiana Discovery Portal. Professor Potter, a leading authority on the ill-fated Arctic Expedition of Sir John Franklin, has appeared in the NOVA documentary "Arctic Passage: Prisoners of the Ice," and is the author of "Arctic Spectacles: The Frozen North in Visual Culture, 1818-1875".
In a recent blog, Potter notes that the portal, being in its beta stage, currently largely offers the researcher the value of convenience. Rather than having to search several sites individually, the portal is a gateway into the websites of several institutions that have important Arctic history collections. He concludes that,
“... as the project progresses, I'm certain it will soon have the breadth and flexibility to be a truly world-class archival search, and the go-to site for anyone interested in the history of the Canadian Arctic.”
Besides the numerous photos and books on the Arctic that can be found in the Canadiana Discovery Portal, there is also much to be found in Early Canadiana online (ECO). Here you can read Sir William Edward Parry’s record of his voyages to the Arctic in the early 1800s. (Three voyages for the discovery of a northwest passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific and narrative of an attempt to reach the North Pole) or American Arctic explorer Charles Hall’s account of his two years living with the Inuit in 1860. (Life with the Esquimaux the narrative of Captain Charles Francis Hall, of the whaling barque "George Henry", from the 29th May, 1860, to the 13th September, 1862)
And available exclusively to our subscribers, are dozens of documents relating to the Arctic, including the British government's instructions to Capt. Sir John Franklin as he began his ill-fated voyage to the Northwest Passage in 1845, as well as guidance for those later searching for Franklin & his crew. (Arctic expedition return to an address of the Honourable the House of Commons, dated 21 March 1848, for, copies of instructions to Captain Sir John Franklin). Also of interest may be Lady Franklin’s thoughts in 1854 as the British government prepares to declare her husband and his crew, officially deceased. (Arctic expeditions copy of letter addressed by Lady Franklin to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, dated the 24th day of February 1854, in reference to their Lordships' announcement in the London Gazette of the 20th day of January 1854, respecting the officers and crews of Her Majesty's ships 'Erebus' and 'Terror').