Dean's Digital World - Sources
By Dean Tudor
The proliferation of Canadian World Wide Web sites continues, and
with great changes to come in Canadian politics and welfare, education,
and health strategies, it might be nice to pause and just see what
exactly there is out there - of value to Canadian journalists. All
links were working as of May 1, 1997, but I'd estimate that by the
time you read this, about 7% will be changed or defunct. On the
other hand, there might be new or additional sites, probably at
about 10% of the following list.
I love indexes and directories: they are the true keepers and organizers
of the printed/electronic word. Libraries and publishers lead the
way for contact data (names and numbers, phones, faxes, E-mail addresses,
Hey - take Sources as an example!!
(for your directory-listing of Canadian experts based on Sources
the book). Also useful are:
(for Canadian Parliamentary Names and Numbers, a sister
publication from Sources that outlines who's who on Parliament
hill, committee assignments, etc.)
(for Connexions Online, a directory of Canadian organizations that
are alternatives to corporations (social welfare, education, self-help
So from these organized lists of contacts, we can move further
on to the general numbers for Canadians:
http://canada411.sympatico.ca (Canada411 for free Bell Canada
http://www.physics.mcmaster.ca/CanUniv.html (a collection
of online Canadian university phonebooks, most with E-mail addresses,
to enable you to contact any university professor or department)
You can find other Canadian phone books at:
http://emporium.turnpike.net/C/cmp/cod (Canada Online Directory);
http://www.canadas.net/White-Pages/ (Canadian E-Mail White
http://www.contractjobs.com/tel/canada.htm (which contains
many business fax numbers).
Canadian journalists can seek a variety of answers to any questions
through the library structures. There's a new Canadian Library Index
(http://www.lights.com/canlib/) which provides an index to
the home pages of all Canadian libraries on the Web. As well, there
are actual connections to library services and catalogues through
telnet (Hytelnet) and webCATS... at least for all those libraries
with Internet-based OPACs (Online Publicly Accessible Catalogues).
Both public and academic libraries are included, as well as some
government and commercial special libraries.
Through the libraries, journalists can find book references, periodical
articles (or references), searching advice, and links to other resources
on the Internet, particularly that hard to find Canadian resource.
One good example of what libraries are doing is ANSWERLINE from
the Metro Toronto Reference Library (http://www.mtrl.toronto.on.ca/centres/answer/form/home.html).
This page has a form in which you can pose any question under (or
over) the sun, whether Toronto-based, Canadian or international
-- it doesn't matter. MTRL will attempt to find the answer for you,
within a 24-hour period. It's not as fast as calling the local phone
number (where the turnaround time is supposed to be five minutes),
but if you live in St. John's or Victoria, then you save a long
distance and a time-disoriented call. If you can wait a day for
answers, and like sending E-mail at 3 am, this is the route. And
more and more local libraries are beginning to offer this service,
such as the Boston Public Library.
Another service from libraries is ratings and filtering of the
content of World Wide Web resources, almost guaranteeing the authenticity
of the information.
One example (http://www.shepherd.com = shepherding, get
it? ) is a project to rate Canadian Internet documents for "educational"
content, and it is being undertaken by Canadian teachers and librarians.
Another one (http://www.schoolnet.ca/collections/) provides
over 100 collections from the holdings of Canadian archives, libraries,
museums, associations, businesses, labour unions and other organizations.
Browsing is alphabetical or by subject...
Other libraries with massive gateways to Canadian socio-economic,
political, cultural, and technological sites include:
http://library.utoronto.ca/www/subjects.html (UTLink at
University of Toronto);
http://www.nlc-bnc.ca/ehome.htm (National Library of Canada).
For quick reference answers from almanacs, encyclopedia, directories,
guides, dictionaries, handbooks, try: http://www.library.utoronto.ca/www/quickref.html;
(which is Statistics Canada's quick guide to Canada); http://www.canadainfo/canada.html
Most academic libraries will let Canadian journalists explore their
World Wide Web sites, but to derive maximum value, you should really
be a student (take a part-time course in computers or spreadsheets,
and get an E-mail account).
Students have access to NEXIS, sometimes to InfoMart, many CD-ROMs,
Canadian Business and Current Affairs, and CANSIM from Statistics
Canada. The Data Liberation Initiative (DLI) has been setup by academic
librarians wishing to get access to government materials at low
costs, in the name of research. Proper students can have access
to these materials: just don't sell the data to business!!!
But if you don't have access to a university account, you can still
try CARL UnCover (http://wdev.carl.org/cgi-bin/unCover/).
UnCover will freely divulge the tables of contents of thousands
of magazines, including most of Canada's scholarly and trade publications.
You'll get references to scores of articles, going back beyond 1980
(if you need them). CARL offers this service for nothing because
they want you to order the article from them. Instead, you can check
the reference at a library or in some other electronic database.
If you need Canadian publications which only exist in electronic
format (annual report of the Commissioner of Official Languages,
Bank of Canada monetary policy reports, or Analytical Studies Branch
Research papers from Statistics Canada), then you'll have to visit
the National Library's electronic collection where these are archived.
The Canadian federal government and some of the provinces are discontinuing
paper versions of documents, putting up e-text versions on World
Wide Web sites. But eventually these are pulled down. The National
Library is trying to ensure that they'll stay available at: http://www.nlc-bnc.ca/e-coll-e/index-e.htm.
What about local data? Say you're in Ottawa, working on a story/idea
based in Victoria. Check out (a) the local Victoria public library
which may have a World Wide Web site and (b) Victoria Free-Net.
Free-Nets are crawling with local contacts, listings, archives,
documents, travel, sports results, etc. You can get to a listing
of Free-Nets all over the world through: http://duke.usask.ca/~scottp/free.html.
News? Suppose you want to be on the cutting edge of news as it
The best place I've seen for quick Canadian news (principally from
CP) is at the Canoe site (Toronto Sun and BCE-owned): http://canoe2.canoe.ca/NewsNewswires/canadaticker.html.
Another source is CBC Radio News (text only, not RealAudio) found
This is updated after each hourly broadcast, and it has archives.
For Today on Parliament Hill, try http://www.informetrica.com/publinet.
This will give you status accounts of the bills, committee hearings,
question period, etc. Plus gateways to other Parliamentary sites.
For Statistics Canada, there is normally a charge to access data.
But you can get the Daily at http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/today/daily.htm.
News about the environment can be found at Environment Canada's
Green Lane (http://www.ec.gc.ca), while news about the Canadian
government in general can be located through InfoCanada (http://www.infocan.gc.ca/).
Newspapers are easy to access, and are especially good for local
news. But remember, while fresh news is commonly available, older
news has been archived and the newspapers want to sell this stuff.
For the Southam papers, try http://www.southam.ca. This
will connect you with the Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette, Hamilton
Spectator, Kitchener-Waterloo Record, Windsor Star, Calgary Herald,
Edmonton Journal, Vancouver Sun, Vancouver Province.
The Sun papers are at http://www.canoe.ca (including the
Financial Post). The Globe and Mail is http://www.globeandmail.ca
and the Toronto Star is http://www.thestar.com while
the Halifax Daily News is http://www.hfxnews.com.
Not really news anymore: the front pages of all the Southam papers
are at http://www.infomart.ca/todays_news/index.html. Other
newspapers can be accessed off http://www.mediainfo.com/edpub/e-papers.canada.html.
For Canadian broadcasting, try TVNet Canada (http://tvnet.com/tv/ca/ca.html).
This would connect you to all television networks/stations in Canada
with World Wide Web sites. CBC Radio and Television is through http://www.cbc.ca/index.html
and CBC Newsworld is http://www.newsworld.cbc.ca.
Maclean-Hunter magazines can be found through CANOE (Canadian Online
Explorer), such as http://www.canoe.ca/macleans, and the
two leading alternatives are at http://www.web.apc.org/~thismag
and http://www.canadiandimension.mb.ca/cd/index.htm. It's
a shame that the Canadian Forum is not hooked up (as of this writing)....
More magazines and newspapers can be found through:
http://www.sentex.net/~ccna (Canadian Community Newspapers
http://fox.nstn.ca:80/~bcantley/cdna.html (Canadian Newspaper
Association), http://www.cmpa.ca/maghome.html (Canadian Magazine
If you need some technical help and moral support in your writing,
then try http://eagle.ca/caj (Canadian Association of Journalists),
http://www.cycor.ca/PWAC (Periodical Writers Association
of Canada), http://www.web.net/eac-acr (Editors' Association
Humber College has some good writing advice.... Try http://www.humberc.on.ca/~coleman/cw-ref.html
or the writers guide at University of Victoria (http://webserver.maclab.comp.uvic.ca/writersguide/StartHere.html),
although writing advice tends to be generic everywhere, and not
just specific to Canada.
I'm saving the best for the last - the monster "beat gateways"
I call them, just loaded with Canadian information. One of the best
is Montrealer Julian Sher's Investigative Journalism for Canadians
Here are listed all Canadian federal and provincial sites for journalists,
including a lot of stuff in French. URLs include searching the federal
government sites, the Champlain Explorer, E-mailing MPs, faxing
MPs, lots of detail on provincial World Wide Web site locations,
with pointers to elsewhere. You can also, of course, visit his bigger
site at http://www.vir.com/~sher/julian.html.
Another equally good gateway is WWW Resources for CBC Journalists,
compiled by Hal Doran of Ottawa at http://www.synapse.net/~radio/welcome.html.
It has much the same material, arranged differently.
The Toronto Sun Library through Julie Kishhas has many gateways
to Canadian resources for journalists; indeed, it is the only Canadian
media library I know of with such data out on the World Wide Web
(please correct me, somebody??!!). She's at http://www.canoe.ca/Sunlib.
There's my own Megasources at http://www.ryerson.ca/~journal/megasources.html,
which has about 999 gateways to other gateways, indexing the whole
universe (as he modestly puts it). It's arranged by category (massive
data to small).
If you're concerned about Canadian government information on the
Internet, then look no further than Anita Cannon's marvelous site
although she herself is now at Mount Alison. She has gateways to
Aboriginal People, Access to Information Act, International Affairs,
Policing, Privacy, Social Security, Statistics, Taxation, and dozens
more connected with government. And she has a similar arrangement
for the provincial World Wide Web sites and the municipal World
Wide Web sites. Many other beat gateways and the Federal government
itself have good indexes to the national government sites; Cannon's
strength lies in her gateways to municipalities AND her follow-up
lists of government catalogues. A tremendous accomplishment!!
Canadian government databases, and a few private ones too, can
be accessed or located through RICARC (Ryerson Institute for Computer-Assisted
Reporting In Canada) at http://www.ryerson.ca/~ricarc.
For more broad materials dealing with Canada, you'll certainly
have to check out Stuart Clamen's Canadian Resource Page found at
clamen/mics/Canadiana/README.html. It goes on forever, such
a huge file with sections dealing with Facts and Figures (handbook
data), Travel, Government, History, News, Weather, Sports, Media,
Employment, plus all the relevant newsgroups.
Finally, for general searching with Canadian topics or themes,
you'll want to try the search engine at Yahoo, which is hierarchically
arranged. This allows for drilling through the menu structure. But
you don't begin with Yahoo. Canoe (SunMedia) has a deal for a Canadian
Yahoo, found at: http://www.yahoo.ca (Yahoo! Canada). If
you use this one, then you'll be limited to subjects covered at
Canadian sites. A great way to weed out the millions of files out
there, ones that have no relevance for Canadian topics. But you'll
have to watch the URLs - they can be pretty big. The one for searching
Toronto World Wide Web sites is http://www.yahoo.ca/text/Regional/Countries/Canada/Provinces_and_Territories/
one you'll probably want to bookmark, never to re-type again!
Another general Canadian search engine is Maple Square, which has
been bought by Sympatico (owned by Bell). Now, since BCE (owned
by Bell) also owns part of Yahoo! Canada, can a merger be in the
books? Meanwhile, try this http://maplesquare.sympatico.ca.
All World Wide Web browsers support Usenet postings, so it is only
a matter of whether your Internet Service Supplier has access to
Usenet. If it does, then you could check out the following discussion
groups, read and leave messages, picking up contacts and advice
and new resources:
Also, there are geographically arranged groups, such as the can.*
series, the ont.* series, thetor.* series, eg,
My favourite sites are the following six: these will get you anything
and everything to do with Canada -
SOURCES SELECT Online - http://www.sources.com.
Megasources - http://www.ryerson.ca/~journal/megasources.html.
Sher - http://www.vir.com/~sher/julian.html.
Clemans - http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs.cmu.edu/user/clamen/mics/Canadiana/
Cannon - http://www.lib.uwaterloo.ca/discipline/Government/CanGuide.
Canadian Library Index - http://www.lights.com/canlib/.
Dean Tudor is Informatics Consultant to Sources and teaches
Journalism and Information Studies at Ryerson Polytechnic University.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published in Sources,
Number 40, Summer 1997 .
Dean's Digital World Articles
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