For a journalist and writer of popular history, these are pretty exciting times. Background information that used to take many hours or even days to com- pile can now be gathered online in mere minutes. Instead of roaming library shelves, interviewing experts or semi-randomly scrolling through micro- film of 19th-century newspapers, I can instantly, directly and efficiently tap remarkably rich veins of research through Google Books, newspapers. com, biographi.ca (that’s the digital version of the wonderful Dictionary of Canadian Biography), thecanadianencyclopedia.ca and, yes, the much- mocked but incredibly useful Wikipedia. Then there’s Library and Archives Canada’s amazing web portal to so much of the country’s digitized documentary heritage, including countless historical photographs and other vintage images. Toss in a few other treasure troves — the Virtual Museum of Canada, canadiana.ca, ancestry.ca, archive.org — and it’s no exaggeration to say that, today, the nation’s and even the world’s history is essentially at my fingertips.
Contributors: Randy Boswell, Dr. Guy Berthiaume, Dr. Jaigris Hodson, Moysés Marcos, Benjamin C. Storm, Dr. Stéphane Lévesque, Anthony Wilson-Smith, Jack Jedwab, Ian Milligan, Deborah Morrison, Dr. Nancy Salay, Robert Cassidy