Check for an abstract or summary associated with the article. If neither exists, read the introduction and conclusion or scan section headings to get a sense of the content of the article. If the introduction or conclusion do not provide enough information, you will need to read the article in its entirety.

  • Use plain language to create a brief, non-judicial description of the article that is no more than 3 sentences. Do not repeat the title in a re-worded fashion. Information in the description should provide more than the title.
  • Ask yourself, What is the substance of this material? What is it actually about? The description is also used to enhance the user's search experience if possible. For example, if categories are not quite detailed enough or title information does not use general terminology, we can add more descriptive information. For example, 64695 is about the sixties scoop but the title does not say that so we add it to the description so that it will help the patron do a key work search for 'sixties scoop". Or examples of adding Robert Pickton to the description (when appropriate) so that patrons can discover all of our material related to this case even though the titles of the articles may not have his name in them. ex: 54180
  • Whenever possible, avoid using words from the title.
  • It is possible to use a direct quotation from the resource but only if it is brief and succinct and a good description of content that would take considerably longer to re-word. If a direct, unaltered quote is used, indicate the source.
  • Avoid using acronyms
  • When necessary, use BC or AD rather than BP (Before Present i.e. 1950) for archeological entries.
  • Use the spell-check program that is provided on the task bar of your browser (Tools - ie Spell) to review the description field for spelling errors. Highlight what is to be checked and then click on "ieSpell". The spell check should be set to Canadian versus American spelling. NOTE: descriptions are our entries and should reflect proper Canadian spelling even if spelling usage in the title is American. The title is always entered as seen on the materials themselves.
  • Entities (diacritics and other non - ASCHII characters) may be used. Enter them as HTML entities. See Technical Tips tab at the top of the page for the list of HTML codes.
  • Only use italics for titles of books, reports, albums, videos, sounds files, law cases, journal titles mentioned, or for words in Latin (and other languages). Do not use italics for personal or place names. html coding: italics <I></I>, unordered bullets <ul></ul>, ordered lists <li></li>
  • Add a notation at the end of the description about the language if it is not in English. Ex: Text in French.
  • Add a notation at the end of the description for videos to indicate the lengthn (in hour minute second format) EX: Duration: 1:28:00
  • Add a notation at the end of the description that provides information about access to the article. This may be used if there are multiple articles on one PDF. EX: Entire issue on one pdf. Scroll down to page 81 to access article.
  • Entire document cannot be downloaded. Must be viewed page by page or use "jump to" feature. (33967)

Ex: "Entire issue on one PDF. To access article, scroll down to appropriate page."

*Links to other records can be added within the description using html coding. If 2 records are linked for a variety of reasons, we can link one record to another. See example 14602: Accompanying material: <a href=""><i>Study Guide</i></a>
other examples: 23386, 27726

  • It is important to exercise discretion and cultural sensitivity when creating a description. Objective and neutral judgment is needed when including required content of a possible offensive nature. This requires up-to-date knowledge of acceptable terminology which is constantly evolving. One of our resources is Indian and Northern Affairs’ Words First: An Evolving Terminology Relating to Aboriginal Peoples in Canada. (See Terminology tab at the top of the page).
  • Some materials may require an apologia within the description.

see records for examples: 16864, 8229, 2915, 21338, 38248,38623,61393 or 14619.
*photos: 'Includes identification of several individuals'
*descriptions for websites: full description not necessary if title is self explanatory; can use 'website contains links to ___'

*Notes in description regarding access: sometimes using IE as a browser does no return the best results. a note can be added #23678

The following is an example of various words and phrases that can be used to start off a description, but may not be necessary.

Advocates Argues that Author reflects on Brief profile of
Collection of Comments on Compares Comparison of
Contends that Delves into Depicts the life of Describes the
Describes creation stories Discusses Discussion of Editorial introducing
Examines the Explains Explores Focuses on
Highlights Historical overview History of Illustrates
Instructional Introduction to Investigates Investigation into
Looks at Observations of Observation on Outlines
Overview of Presentation of Presents Promotes
Qualifies Reflects on Relates Reports
Research conducted on Response to Reviews Successful
Suggests that Statistics reveal Studies the Study probes the
Sums up Uses to show Uses to indicate Uses as an example
Viewpoint of

example of proper sentence structure:
BAD: Discusses strategies for improving coping skills for young people through he development of teaching material for primary school students to deal with one of the highest youth suicide rates in the world.

GOOD: Discusses strategies to deal with one of the highest youth suicide rates in the world by developing teaching materials to improve coping skills of primary school pupils.

Some grammar principles/issues:

First Nation - singular when used with a specific band
First Nations' issues - NO apostrophe used!
Metis or Inuit do not need apostrophe either

The Prime Minister, Jean Chretien (use apostrophe if using article "the")
Minster of Indian Affairs
Cabinet Minister Bob Nault

It's versus Its
affect versus effect
licence versus license
than versus then
counselling versus counseling
use of semi-colon (;) and the colon (:) in description
analize (plural)(canadain usage) versus analise (American usage) versus analysis (singular)