Surfing with Ed on the Internet
by Ed Swires-Hennessy, National
Assembly for Wales
Ed continues his appraisals of
different national Web Sites to stimulate use of the Internet, share best practice and
month I revisit the site of Statistics Canada ( http://ceps.statcan.ca/ ) which I last reviewed in April 1998. The
English and French sites mirror each other by offering almost identical information that
is not always the case with bilingual sites.
English home page loaded quickly due to the minimal use of images and contains a
substantial number of links for navigation throughout the site. The page has an
unstructured feel to it which is probably due to each group of links being displayed in a
information throughout the site is made easy by provision of good search and browse
facilities and a comprehensive index. The site also includes a large number of help and
advisory pages to assist visitors in understanding and using the facilities on offer. The
Daily link provides visitors with quick and easy access to the latest information
all census information behind one link would improve the appearance of the homepage and
remove the possible confusion that the existing two links may cause.
Statistics offers data, by theme, in clear, well-presented tables. Some of these tables
provide indicators and are models of how to get the latest information out with relevant
changes over the latest period and year being shown clearly. However, some of the tables
do not provide data later than 1997 and even then can only be accessed after navigating
through several screens. Many of the tables are summaries of data held in Cansim (see
below) with an advertisement to buy more at the foot of the table!
profiles is an innovative way of providing regional data from the 1996 population
census through online queries. The data is presented in well-formatted tables supplemented
by comprehensive notes and maps.
and Services allows online searching and ordering of publications with the electronic
publications being available as PDF downloads. Unfortunately file sizes are not always
given for downloadable PDFs. This section also introduces visitors to the sites chargeable
online database, Cansim, which allows the building of queries to retrieve data. Once a
query is complete the cost is calculated, and payment requested, before the data are made
Indicators is a fast track method of viewing sample data from the Cansim database. Access
to any data other than the small sample displayed is through the normal chargeable
my last review of this site it has evolved into a large comprehensive web site using the
latest web building technology to good effect. The
poor design of the home page does not reflect the innovative work carried out in the
construction and maintenance of this site. Complete removal of charges would be a major
improvement and ensure full data access to a much wider audience.
was undertaken using Internet Explorer version 5.0 on 30 May at 09.00 hrs GMT using a
high-speed link through Super JANet on a Pentium III 333MHz machine.
Please send and comments and
suggestions for sites to review to