The TRC Report, Online

So I thought I’d share what I’ve been working on on the side: an online version of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report on Canada’s residential schools. The TRC report is a vital resource that weaves together survivors’ testimony and historical records into a thorough, authoritative account of how the government and the churches used residential schools as a means of destroying Indigenous families, languages, and cultures. It’s a part of history many Canadians know very little about.

I started reading the full report in print, but the book was too huge to carry around, and I felt bad about sharing inaccessible photos of text on social media. It’s only online as huge PDF files—not terribly accessible either. There are e-book versions to buy or borrow from the library, but I don’t have an e-book reader. And while the #ReadtheTRCreport YouTube playlist is a fantastic project, I’m not really into video or audio myself. Hence, this project.


If you’re interested, here’s the boring technical details. Basically, I use a command-line program to strip the text out, then lots and lots of regular expressions (basically search-and-replace on steroids) to mark up paragraphs, footnotes, blockquotes, etc. nano’s Justify and Indent features are handy for formatting. It still requires a lot of proofreading alongside the original PDF.

Currently, the site is hosted on GitHub Pages, a free, built-in service. I will probably move it to its own platform eventually. Nothing too fancy. I want to keep it as lightweight as possible, so even people in the middle of nowhere with crappy Internet connections can download and read it.

Do check out the site, as well as the back end. Feedback, suggestions, and pull requests are all very much welcome.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.