________________ CM . . . . Volume VIII Number 5 . . . . October 5, 2001

cover Acadia CD-ROM.

Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 1999.
54 min., 25 sec., VHS, $39.95.
CD-ROM, $49.95.

Subject Headings:
Acadians-Social life and customs.
Maritime Provinces-Description and travel.
Maritime Provinces-History-To 1867.

Grades 10-12 / Ages 15-17.

Review by Joanne Peters.

***1/2 /4

One of CD-ROM technology's great advantages is its ability to combine text, still or moving images and sound, presenting material with richness and depth. The Acadia CD-ROM, an NFB co-production, offers print, pictures, and sound, presented in some truly creative ways: "pages" of a virtual book turn with the click of a mouse, books pop up out of an interactive bookshelf, audio clips provide musical accompaniment, and rolling a computer mouse over arrows on a map displays the destinations and fates of the dispersed Acadians. The graphic presentation is also similarly inventive: the opening credits feature video sequences enacting the dispersal of the Acadians, faux wooden borders frame many of the screens, and the typeface of many of the text headings provides authenticity, without sacrificing readability. Well-designed though it is, navigation within the main sections of the CD is not intuitive - read the information in the "Help" section for efficient use. Printing any page of information is very easy, although users should realize that the hard copy will be black and white text and not the full-colour of the screen version (probably a good thing for owners of colour printers).

    The Acadia CD-ROM is a comprehensive overview of Acadian heritage, past and present. The content is divided into four main sections: "History of Acadia" details the dispersal of Acadians in 'Le Grand Derangement"; "Voyage to Acadia" offers virtual tours of and textual information about the many Acadian heritage museums and historical sites in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and P.E.I.; and "Culture and Traditions" contains a range of materials ranging from genealogy, folklore, and a focus section on Acadian women to haunting audio-clips of traditional and current Acadian song, an audio-visual dictionary of Acadian words and expressions, and, of course, the full text of Longfellow's poem, "Evangeline." The last section, "Acadia of the Maritimes," is a collection of essays, produced at the Centre for Acadian Studies in Moncton. Some of the essays have a fairly specialized focus, but none is inaccessible to high school students.

    The story of the Acadians is, at times, a sad one, but it is also a story of a culture that has survived with spirit and vitality. In many Canadian history classrooms, the dispersal of the Acadians is a brief lesson, and students rarely have any sense of the difficulties faced by these unwilling emigres. Nor do students have an understanding of the uniqueness of Acadian culture and of its continuing pride in its heritage. There is a wealth of material in this CD, and it is certainly worth acquiring as a supplemental resource for Canadian history courses in senior high schools and as an information resource for high school libraries, particularly those which have strong local interest in the topic.

Highly Recommended.

Joanne Peters is a teacher-librarian at Kelvin High School in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364