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The Canadian Plains Research Centre

W. Anthony Gordon, Acting Director
Volume 10 Number 3

Listings of new books on the Prairies, a cultural week in Winnipeg, computer printouts of specialists in any area of prairie scholarship. These are some of the services provided for librarians, teachers, and others interested in Canada's prairie region by the Canadian Plains Research Centre. The Centre also publishes a journal and several series of books. It arranges conferences and workshops on a whole range of subjects touching on prairie life. It does contract research for a variety of public and private agencies.

Based on the campus of the University of Regina, the Canadian Plains Research Centre (CPRC) opened for business in 1973. It was established to develop an understanding and appreciation of the prairie region by encouraging and sponsoring research and by publishing work on the Prairies by scholars in any discipline. Although CPRC has its home in Regina, it is very much a resource for all three Prairie Provinces. Its work is guided by a policy board representing universities, government agencies, and private corporations in the prairie region. It is funded from a variety of sources, mostly in the government and university sectors.

As CPRC's name implies, its work and services are concerned especially with the prairie regions of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, the main inhabited area of these three provinces. However, the area of interest is necessarily elastic. Studies of animal migration may involve plains regions of the adjacent United States, while studies of justice problems and procedures embrace the Prairie Provinces as complete political units. As long as the Canadian prairies form the core area of the topic, CPRC is interested in it no matter what scholarly discipline is involved.

Information Exchange: The Canadian Plains Bulletin and Prairie Forum

CPRC publishes an informative quarterly newsletter, the Canadian Plains Bulletin. It is available without charge to anyone interested in the Canadian Prairies. The Bulletin keeps readers up-to-date on who is doing what in prairie Canada. There are notes on new research projects and up-coming conferences and brief reviews of selected new publications. Of particular interest to librarians are the lists of new prairie books in each issue. Sample items from the Winter, 1982, issue include news about an oral history project on "Winnipeg Past & Present," where to obtain a leaflet about genealogical materials in Alberta, and information about the energy-efficient Saskatchewan Conservation House. The Canadian Plains Bulletin is increasingly valued as a means of exchange of current information about research in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

CPRC's journal, published twice each year, is Prairie Forum. It publishes research reports on all aspects of the region from the early work of the Oblate missionaries to coal mining in Alberta and the Manitoba Grain Act. Most issues contain a diversity of articles, many of which contain material useful as background information for classroom teaching Some issues are devoted to a particular theme such as prairie architecture or ethnic studies.

Prairie Forum also publishes interesting book reviews, and it lists recent student theses. At the present time, the annual subscription for two issues is $15.00.

Prairie Lands, Prairie Peoples: The Prairie Canada Summer Program

Designed for vacationers, residents, students, and anyone interested in learning more about the Prairies, the Prairie Canada Summer Program offers much to teachers, librarians, and family groups. It is a two-week program of lectures and field trips on the life and culture of the region organized with the co-operation of the Universities of Manitoba, Regina, and Winnipeg. The lectures and trips are suitable for older children. For those who are too young, children's activities are arranged.

Week I was held in Winnipeg, July 18-23. Its three themes this year were the history and diversity of prairie religious life, the native peoples of the Prairies, and the relation ship of the prairie environment to prairie architecture.

Week II in Regina highlighted the natural history of the Prairies, the literary and visual arts, patterns of prairie settlement, and the history of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Books on the Prairie Region

CPRC publishes books on all aspects of the Canadian prairie region. There are four main series: the Occasional Papers, the Canadian Plains Studies, the Proceedings and the Reports.

The most recent of the Occasional Papers has interested many people: All in Together Girls: Skipping Songs from Regina, Saskatchewan. The Studies series consists of scholarly work covering a range of topics among which almost everyone should find something of interest. Recent titles include Ethnic Canadians: Culture and Education and Town and City: Aspects of Western Canadian Urban Development. Early in 1982, Dans la prairie canadienne/On the Canadian Prairie, the journal of a French-speaking settler in Saskatchewan in the early years of this century was published.

The Canadian Plains Proceedings and Canadian Plains Reports are usually quite technical. Among recent titles are 15th Annual Workshop for Pesticide Residue Analysts (Western Canada) and Monitoring Migration in the Prairie Provinces: Administrative Data Sources and Methodologies.

Computerized Information System

Reference librarians often need to know who are the specialists in any area of prairie research. CPRC's CANPLAINS data base gives the answers. It can provide information on current or recent research in the humanities, social sciences, and science and engineering by topic, geographic area, name and address of the researcher, and supporting institution. A new project being considered in 1982 is to extend the data base to include research in education including physical education and physical fitness.

The CANPLAINS system is not difficult to use. It is available through the reference department of main libraries including provincial, university, and many city or municipal libraries. Let the librarian know the topic on which you need information and that the computer search is provided through QL Systems with CANPLAINS coded as CPL. The CANPLAINS information system will not provide a summary of the results of research, but it can tell who to go to for further information. As a source of current and recent research, the system is continually being updated on a cycle of about three years.

Further Information

The CPRC staff is always pleased to receive suggestions about new or improved service that can be provided. In this way it can better serve its public: the teachers, librarians, students, and researchers who live in or work upon or are fascinated by Canada's prairie region.

More information about services provided by the Canadian Plains Research Centre may be obtained by writing to the Director, Canadian Plains Research Centre, University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan, S4S OA2.

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