Finding Canadian Facts Fast


192 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-458-98250-4




Reviewed by Ann Turner

Ann Turner is Financial and Budget Manager at the University of British
Columbia Library.


“Information gathering is a survival skill” notes the author in his introduction, yet it is skill that is poorly developed in the population at large. Courses of instruction in its principles and resources are not generally available, and, for want of anything better, most people make do with whatever information they can find easily. In fact, a great deal of information is readily available if one only knows what is there and how to look for it. That is the subject of this enlightening (and occasionally frightening) handbook. Part one demonstrates that, although they share a common set of principles, there are many different techniques that can be used to conduct a search. This half of the book contains lively interviews with 12 professional gatherers of information, ranging from a cabinet minister to a skip tracer, who describe how they go about finding what they need. All are successful in their own lines of work; all demonstrate in the interviews the resourcefulness and tenacity that make them successful. The second half of the book is a primer of resources for the amateur researcher seeking information about Canada and Canadians. It begins with a guide to finding information in various types of libraries. Standard reference sources are identified for self-help, and the user is advised to consult the librarian for assistance and additional resources. Three subsequent chapters explain in considerable detail how to untangle the red tape surrounding the resources of local, provincial, and federal governments. A final chapter deals with the mysteries of court records and the difficulties one can expect in obtaining access to them. The book concludes with an annotated bibliography of 90 reference sources covering a wide range of Canadian topics. A highly readable and practical guide suitable for the general public.


Overbury, Stephen, “Finding Canadian Facts Fast,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed February 21, 2024,