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Social History of the Eastern Arctic Database: Database Guide


The information below will help you to better navigate the approximately 10,000 abstracts in the database.It is recommended that those interested in searching and using the database read the information below before using the Social History of the Eastern Arctic database.



The database's search results are automatically filtered as keywords, dates, and/or catalogue numbers (appearing in square brackets in each abstract), are typed into the search field. Searches using one keyword may produce hundreds of hits. Users of the database can limit their search results by adding dates, regions, catalogue numbers, etc. To get the best results, it may be necessary to search for variations on a particular term. For example, users interested in searching for "Arviat" may also search for "Eskimo Point", while those searching for "house" may also search for "housing", "shack", "dwelling", "igloo", or "snow house". Similarly, searches for "R.C.M.P." may return different results than searches for "RCMP" or "Royal Canadian Mounted Police".


Each search will produce a list of abstracts which can be sorted in different ways by clicking on the column headers (e.g., to sort by date, click on the Abstract Date column header). Information detailing how many hits were obtained from the search is listed at the bottom of the page (e.g., "Showing 1 to 5 of 95 entries (filtered from 9,860 total entries)"). Information on the specific columns and their meaning is provided below.



The file column provides a link to a reproduction of the document described in the abstract, if available. Clicking the link will prompt the download of a TIFF or multi-TIFF file. Some reproductions are not available through the database. Researchers interested in obtaining reproductions or accessing original documents should contact the archival institution responsible for the document.


Abstract Date

The date of creation of the document described in the abstract. 


Abstract Text

The abstract describing the document. The abstract includes a date (the n.d. abbreviation is used when a date is unknown, or when specific values of a date are unknown [e.g., "n.d., 1927" indicates that the day and month values are not known]). The date is followed by the catalogue number in square brackets, which indicates the source of the document and can be used to locate the original document. The catalogue number is followed by a title, usually a descriptive sentence about the document if no title exists, or the title of the document as provided by its creator where applicable, as well as a description of the document.


Record Group (RG)

The primary unit of organization in public archives. You will see this noted in the database under the column, "source." For example, RG10 at Library and Archives Canada are historical records relating to Indian Affairs. The sources can vary, but they typically provide the series, volume, file, part, and pages. For examples see "text documents (archival)" at LAC



The most common source of documents is the National Archives of Canada, now Library and Archives Canada, indicated by the letters “NAC” or "LAC"  followed by a catalogue number. In rare cases where there is no catalogue number for the document this has been indicated by the words “no RG”.

Documents in this collection also come from the N.W.T. Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre in Yellowknife (indicated by “N.W.T. Archives”), the Anglican Church of Canada, and the Hudson’s Bay Company archives. Unlike the RG examples above, the source may look like:  NWT Govt. Archives. Alex Stevenson Collection N92-023. Box 20


Short Name

Short names are values developed by the researchers of the database. Consequently, this number is not relevant to most searches.