Newsletter Winter 2012

Executive Director's Message

With this newsletter I am very pleased to announce the re-launch of our Early Canadiana Online collection. This represents an important milestone for Canadiana since the online search platform will be crucial to our future success in preserving and providing access to Canada's documentary heritage. We will continue to build and enhance the site in the months ahead, so keep an eye out for really cool features.

I would also like to take this opportunity to introduce two new Canadiana employees: Sascha Adler joined our technical team and has taken responsibility for the online face of Canadiana and our collections. Daniel Velarde joined our business development team and has been instrumental in re-working our content and partnerships.

Ron Walker, Executive Director

New Early Canadiana Online search page

Early Canadiana Online: Better...stronger...faster

Canadiana is thrilled to launch its new search platform. Rebuilt from the ground up, the new Early Canadiana Online (ECO) features a set of much-awaited technical improvements, the most obvious being faster, smarter searching and navigation. This overhaul finally unleashes the vast potentials within the database, allowing wild card searches, complex Booleans, and a whole range of search filters. Users will also have more tools and options at their disposal, including secure connections and personalized accounts.

To get started, sign up for a Canadiana account and enjoy a free 30-day ECO subscription.


Putting on mittens

To celebrate the winter and holiday season, Early Canadiana Online takes you on a pictorial tour of historical winter and Christmas festivities.

Catherine Tekakwitha

In the news

Canada's first aboriginal saint

Pope Benedict XVI recognizes the miracles attributed to New France's celebrated 17th-century mystic, Catherine Tekakwitha (1656-1680), clearing her final hurdle before sainthood. Tekakwitha was captured in a French raid several years after being orphaned in a smallpox epidemic whose scars she bore until her early death at 24. The Mohawk child was raised near present-day Kahnawake by French missionaries who reported the miraculous disappearance of her smallpox scars upon her death.

La vie de la b. Catherine Tegakoèuita, dite à présent la Saincte Sauuagesse by Claude Chauchatière (1645-1709) launched Catherine's posthumous career as a Canadian holy figure and symbol of New France. Vie de Catherine Tekakwitha (1894) is a product of the 19th-century Catholic revival. Biographies and translations are available in English (1891), Iroquois (1876), and Algonquin (1876) — and the new ECO allows you to filter your searches by language.



Ridgeway revisited

University of Toronto monument to the fallen students

A new release in the History of Canada series, Peter Vronsky's Ridgeway explores the confused 1866 battle of the same name between invading Irish-American Fenians and a Canadian militia column whose ranks of students and Sunday soldiers were given a rude introduction to warfare. Crossing the Niagara River into Ontario on June 1, the Fenians seized Fort Erie before barricading themselves on the slopes overlooking Lime Ridge Road. Advancing under heavy fire, the Canadians made steady progress until a false cavalry alert prompted several units to form themselves into squares -- a complicated manoeuvre not designed for amateur soldiers. Unable to restore order in the ranks, the officers ordered a retreat; the Fenians in turn withdrew to New York, where the authorities were not amused with their behaviour.

The ECO user may conduct his or her own investigation into the debacle by reviewing the account of Major George T. Denison published in the Volunteer Review and Military and Naval Gazette (1870) before moving on to the diplomatic Correspondence respecting the recent Fenian aggression upon Canada (1867?). For fairness and balance, the Fenians' perspective is forcefully stated in Ridgeway: an historical romance of the Fenian invasion of Canada. Finally, an eyewitness account (1866) by one of the "Queen's Own Rifles" of Toronto rounds out the pile of evidence:

When we arrived near the place where the Fenians were supposed to be, an advance-guard was formed to go in front of the main body of the column... We were deployed in skirmishing order, and then received the order to advance, which we did with great steadiness, not one man flinching. ...It is beyond me to describe to you the feelings I had during the engagement, and the rest of the day, while men on either side of me were struck down; God in his great mercy saw fit to spare my life. Shortly after we came in, the unfortunate order of Col. Booker was given to form square, which was like presenting the side of a house for the enemy to fire at.

Lord Elgin (1853 engraving)

Lord Elgin's return

A joint effort between Library and Archives Canada and the National Records of Scotland has produced a digital collection of Lord Elgin's private letters. As a watershed figure in the history of Canadian constitutional government, Lord Elgin is a familiar sight both within the Lives of the Governors General collection and through ECO at large. Biographies include The Earl of Elgin (1906) by George M. Wrong and Lord Elgin (1903) by Sir John George Bourinot; also available are the Letters and journals of James, 8th Earl of Elgin (1872) and Elgin's correspondence with the Colonial Department (1848).

Toward a new digital framework

In a speech to the House of Commons standing committee on Canadian Heritage, Deputy Head and Librarian and Archivist of Canada Daniel Caron pledges to develop a "truly modern" approach to preserving and sharing Canada's documentary heritage:

The exponential growth in the number of information resource producers, and the subsequent astronomical increase in the level of production make it impossible to acquire all the documentary production. Like never before, the majority of Canadians are now actively participating in the process of telling their stories and documenting their lives. Library and Archives Canada must adapt and consider the new sources of documentary production and their widespread, democratic distribution. ... As well, thanks to digital age technology, we can gradually transcend our historic geographic challenges by making this heritage accessible to all Canadians.

Library and Archives Canada is a founding member of Canadiana.

New on Early Canadiana Online

New titles from the Early Canadian Periodicals project bring to life a booming fin-de siècle British Columbia and feature the work of Canada's early war artists in the North-West Rebellion and the First World War

Over winter 2011-12, we added roughly 60,000 pages in 33 different titles (with hundreds of issues) to Early Canadiana Online.

Westward ho! magazine (Vancouver: 1907-1910)

Man-to-man magazine (Vancouver: 1910-1911)

British Columbia magazine (Vancouver: 1911-1913)

The Canadian Militia Gazette (Ottawa: 1885-1892)

The Canadian Military Gazette (Ottawa: 1892-1896)

The Canadian War Pictorial : A Photographic Record (Ottawa: 1916-18)

Les poilus canadiens: le roman du vingt-deuxième bataillon canadien-français (1918?)

Album de la grande guerre (Montreal: 191-?)

The Canadian Pictorial & Illustrated War News (Toronto: 1885)


The Discovery Portal continues to grow

A reminder: contributing content to the Canadiana Discovery Portal is easy!

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada has added 225,000 pages of fully-indexed text, including statements, speeches and press releases from 1946 to 1995.
The University of British Columbia Library's digital collection of historical BC newspapers has been added to the Discovery Portal. Researchers can now access 45,000 pages in 24 community papers spanning from 1865 to 1924.


Partnership with Canada's universities renewed

Canadiana and 46 member libraries from the Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN) signed a three-year Early Canadiana Online (ECO) license agreement to December 2014. This year, Canadiana welcomed two new CRKN subscribers: The Université de Moncton and Université du Québec a Rimouski.

CRKN is a network of Canadian 75 universities dedicated to expanding digital content for academic research in Canada. Its team of librarians, researchers, and administrators acquires content in order to build knowledge infrastructure and assist research in Canada's universities. Through CRKN, ECO is accessible to roughly 500,000 researchers and students.