Confederation Research (II)

Thanks to everyone who replied (in such depth) to my question about sources for Confederation research – there’s certainly far more there than I realised. It got me thinking that there’s really a need for some form of publication or research guide (linking to online sources). It’s something I’d like to put on my ‘to do’ list at Osgoode and get started over the next year – creation of a Web-based guide to Confederation research – that would link to online sources, but also to the scanned text of the various works (many of which, as has been pointed out, we have in our collection here), and always assuming that they’re out of copyright.


  1. Good Nick – but this really should simply exist – Ottawa should be thinking this through.
    Summer student project for a tech savvy law student to work with Canadian Heritage. O’Connor should simply all be there on the web. I wouldn’t simply digitize the print sources though. Let’s rethink.
    And don’t forget all the documentation about Newfoundland’s entry into Confederation, a nice start on which is made at

  2. Yes, it makes sense for a big library to tackle this — if Ottawa won’t. I was kind of hoping Slaw could scoop everyone and build the thing ourselves. Still…

    Simon C, why not “simply digitize the print sources”? Do you mean there needs to be more as well as that?

    This said, I’d still love to see if Slaw couldn’t pull something really good together.

  3. I’m not impressed with the archivists’ solution of making Canada’s heritage available one TIFF page at a time, given that this material should be both accessible and public domain.
    I’d go through O’Connor and Waite’s thought process but construct a contemporary website equivalent, with superior searching capability.

  4. It seems to me CANLII would be a natural place to house all of this if Ottawa doesn’t.

  5. I’d suggest otherwise, because:

    * this should be a resource available to everyone
    * lawyers are comfortable with the CANLII structure, but if I were designing a portal for public legal information, it wouldn’t look like it
    * CANLII is not deep indexed by the major search engines, and I would want something that (literally) a high school student could stumble on.
    * CANLII doesn’t permit the sort of integration of multi-format information and hyperlinks that I think this would call for. It’s a fairly uni-dimensional hierarchical portal, which is why (of course) lawyers like it.