22 March 2006


Prince Edward Island Hansard

The Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island has its Hansard online back to January 1997. These records are well indexed by date. The viewer, using "Select a Sitting", can choose any sitting of the Legislature (since Spring 1997), and then is shown calendar pages with a link to each day's Hansard.

The Hansard records are presented in pdf (Adobe Acrobat) format for all sessions – except the Spring 1997 session which is presented in HTML.

The Prince Edward Island Hansard presents its Indexes in pdf format, thus they are useless for anyone trying to access this information online. For example, the Hansard Index Fall 2003 - Spring 2004 is 58 pages in pdf with no hyperlink anywhere. An online index with no links is as useless as (insert well-known rude expression here).

These Hansard records are "orphan" webpages. For example, the record for March 6, 1997. If you click on this link, you will arrive at a webpage with no navigation links enabling you to go to any other content in this site. If Google, or any other search engine, sends you to this webpage, you will have no way to find other pages in the website operated by the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island.

This is a strong negative for this site. Such a decision could have been made only by someone steeped in the print culture, as opposed to someone familiar with how online documents work when viewed with a browser.

A search of the Prince Edward Island Hansard for the earliest occurrence of "information highway" turned up one on March 11, 1997.

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