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BriefsReportRoyal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and SciencesRoyal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and SciencesRoyal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and Sciences

About the Project

Digitization of the Report
Digitization of the Briefs
Project Scope
Project Team

Digitization of the Report

To ensure that the digital version of the report would be completely accurate, so as to support scholarly work, the digitized text was proofread twice, first by the teams in Victoria, B.C. (English version) and Saint-Alphonse Rodriguez, Qué (French version), and then by team members at the National Library of Canada. In keeping with this, all typographical errors which occurred in the original published report were retained for this electronic version, and were marked with [sic]. Occasionally, editorial clarifications have been made. Blank pages have been noted as such, normally by providing a footnote to that effect.

Graphics for this site were deliberately kept to a minimum. The report itself and the volume of studies contain no graphical elements save the covers and the coat of arms. Similarly, the briefs contain very few graphical elements, the chief exceptions being organizational logos, and this normally on covering letters. It is the text itself which holds centre stage.

Page numbers were retained throughout the digitized text, so that it would be possible to cite the original when working from the digitized version. All of the page numbers in the text of the report up to page 408 have been "anchored" so that the index can refer to them. These page anchors may also be useful for anyone who is writing a paper for the web and who wishes to refer to this online version via a hypertext link. The structure of the anchors follows the pattern of:

[opening angle bracket]A NAME="[page number]"[closing angle bracket] [opening angle bracket]/A[closing angle bracket].

Examples can be seen by viewing the source code for any of the report pages up to page 408.

The links in the report index were created using a batch program once the anchors in the pages had been established. This reduced the amount of work involved in establishing 98% of the over 1500 index links to a few minutes. Nevertheless, some of the links, such as "see" and "see also", were established manually, as that was more efficient.

Notes about digitization of the Briefs

The briefs have been transcribed from the originals, with the emphasis on ensuring accuracy of textual content rather than on representation of the page layout. In two cases, appendices submitted with the briefs are missing from the originals held by the National Library (submissions from the Canadian Council for Reconstruction for UNESCO and the Canadian Library Association). The Library will seek to add the missing appendices in the near future. As with the report, page numbers have been retained. As necessary, unnumbered leaves have been identified by placing a page number or a comment between square brackets, e.g., [title page], [- 1 -], etc.

For the French-language briefs, two kinds of stylistic adjustments have been made:

  • Accents: At the time of the Commission, the style convention was that any lowercase letters which were accented would not retain the accents when changed to uppercase. So, for example, éducation would be typed as Education and île as Ile when capitalization was required. In contrast, current French usage in Canada is that accented lowercase letters retain the accent in the uppercase version (e.g., Éducation). Thus, the spelling in the briefs has been altered to conform to modern Canadian practice rather than to the practice in France, which is to not retain the accents in capital letters.
  • Capitalization: Some of the French-language briefs incorporate a more generous use of capitalization than is generally done in current practice (e.g., « . . . le Gouvernement Fédéral » vs. le Gouvernement fédéral). In these cases, we have attempted to ensure that capitalization reflects current practice.

Otherwise, the briefs have been rendered as submitted.


For this project, the scope of materials to be digitized was limited to:

  1. Digitization of the complete texts in English and French of the Report of the Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters, and Sciences. Report. Ottawa : King's Printer, 1951.
  2. Digitization of selected briefs which were submitted to the Commission in 1949 and 1950.

A few of the studies published in Royal Commission Studies : a Selection of Essays Prepared for the Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and Sciences. Ottawa: King's Printer, 1951. vii, 430 pp. were also to have been included, if resources permitted. As it turned out, this did not prove possible.

The principle exclusions from the project were the typescript versions of the studies commissioned, and the letters submitted unless they were (a) part of a brief (e.g., a covering letter); or (b) briefs in their own right (and thus listed in Appendix I of the report).

The project incorporates evaluation and digitization research components, and more work will continue on this aspect. First, the National Library intends to consult users (e.g., via focus groups) about the site and the usefulness of the digitized materials, and what they would wish to see in the future. Second, as a pilot, the files on this site incorporate embedded GILs (Government Information Locator Service) metadata. This will be assessed as part of the Library's ongoing investigation of standards and best practices for embedding metadata in electronic documents. Third, the project results have been subjected to statistical measures of the accuracy of the conversion of the texts to digital form. This information will be useful for benchmarking and planning digitization of lengthy texts such as these.


Projects of this size reflect the combined strengths of many different contributors. First, we gratefully acknowledge Industry Canada's SchoolNet Digital Collections programme (now Canada's Digital Collections) for their funding for the project, which is one of several National Library projects they have sponsored and added to the Canada's Digital Collections site (http://collections.ic.gc.ca). In addition, we are grateful for the support of Bell Canada through the Stentor Alliance. Sincere thanks also go to Dr. Paul Litt (author of a major monograph on the Massey Commission) for kindly suggesting - on very short notice - a number of briefs for digitization. Anita M. Vandenbeld and the members of the Executive Committee of the http://www.acs.ucalgary.ca/~osnhc/ Organization for the History of Canada were very helpful in providing several contacts in the scholarly community. And, of course, our sincere appreciation is also extended to the Privy Council Office for permission to digitize the report, studies, and briefs submitted to the Commission.

Thanks are also due to several National Library managers and staff members who played key roles in the project: Paul McCormick, Margo Wiper, Linda Sigouin, Claire Bourassa, Nancy Brodie, and Alison Bullock and Ginette Soulière and their staffs.

Project Team

  • Victoria, British Columbia:

    • Joni McManus (Sub-Project Team Leader)
    • Magda Hayton

  • Saint-Alphonse-Rodriguez, Québec (Société d'aide au développement de la collectivité de la Matawinie inc. SADC,):

    • Robert Lachappelle (Sub-project Team Leader)
    • Johanne Delisle

  • National Library of Canada:

    • Alan Born - Proofreader (English version)
    • Michelle Pelletier - Proofreader (French version)
    • Chantal Gauthier - Editor
    • Jean-Marie Brière - Editor
    • Jacqueline Cossette - Project Administrator
    • Todd Liko - Coding Editor (English & French versions), navigational graphics
    • George Loos - Coding Editor (French version)
    • Doug Hodges - Project Manager