Getting The Goods: Information
Getting the Goods: Information in B.C.: How to Find It, How to Use
New Star Books, Vancouver, 150 pages, 1990
Anyone in Canada needing information about British Columbia would
likely find the book Getting the Goods: Information in B.C.
essential. We at Sources feel rather good about promoting
this new book by Rick Ouston. A working journalist and editor for
13 years, he's written for several major daily newspapers in North
America, as well as for the CBC and BCTV. His efforts have earned
him several awards and citations.
This 150-page book contains 46 chapters from which anyone can benefit.
Ouston's easy conversational style includes his personal experiences
showing how each resource can be helpful.
Now to the part we happen to feel especially good about. On page
123 is a chapter titled "SOURCES." The title
"doesn't refer to secret government Deep Throats who will meet
you in underground garages if you leave a red flag in the balcony
flower pots," writes Ouston. Rather, it refers to this very
publication that "... is worth its weight in loose-lipped public
bureaucrats." Ouston doesn't mind the chapter sounding like
a "breathless promotional" because he has "... used
SOURCES to get home numbers of information officers
for the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service 10 minutes before
deadline..." He wraps up the chapter by stressing that "SOURCES
will save time and money, and will help you find what you are looking
for, even if you're not sure what that is."
Some information in Getting the Goods is out of date. Taking
what we know best, for instance, SOURCES price has
increased since Ouston wrote his book. (see the masthead). We've
grown to 500 pages (then down to 476 in this edition) from 300.
Some such oversights are inevitable. As Ouston says in his introduction,
some information may be off since a lot can change between the time
a book is written and the time it's published.
The chapter headings may cause slight inconvenience. Though titles
such as Adoption and Bankruptcy are self-explanatory, others aren't.
It's not, for example, self-evident that the chapter Ten-K refers
to the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission.
The absence of fax numbers is pretty noticeable. In a day and age
when most offices have fax machines, this should be considered necessary
information. Time is often very scarce for people doing research.
Most sorely missed in Ouston's book is an index. This is one feature
every reference work should contain for the sake of convenience.
Since not all headings are clear, an index would definitely make
all the information easier to access and save time.
Getting the Goods is a book valuable beyond the circle of
writers and researchers. Many chapters contain pertinent information
for the average person who needs a starting point for his or her
research. In Zen and the Art of Putting it All Together, Ouston
lists books he considers necessary for those doing research in B.C.
He recommends, for instance, Overbury's Finding Canadian Facts
Fast, the B.C. Government phone book, IRE Reporter's Handbook,
the white pages and SOURCES. Those of us familiar
with Getting the Goodsfeel it would be a perfect addition
to the complete journalist's reference shelf. Maybe that's why you'll
notice it on the desk photographed for the cover of this Sources
This article originally appeared in Sources,
Up Ottawa's Gold
on Parliament Hill
the Library of Parliament
Answers: Approaches to Gathering Information
Intelligent Guide to Successful Online Research
In the Fast Lane: E-Prints Speed Spread Of Research Results
Intelligent Guide to Intelligent Research
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