The Library and Archives Canada has issued a another podcast, and this one concerns the First World War Service Papers in Sign Me Up: CEF Files, 1914-1918. These papers are being digitized and are being put online.
I listened to the podcasts, and although nothing new was mentioned in the podcasts, I feel that there will be questions that will still be asked about the papers. The researcher will have to study the various papers in detail in order to reconstruct the life of the soldier. For example, if the soldier was in the Canadian militia before signing the Attestation Paper, what militia unit was it, where were they located, what was his service, or if he served in different regiments while overseas (which many did), why was this so? Who did he serve with, his time of service, in what battles was he involved, and so forth.
I had the occasion to download a complete service record a couple of weeks ago, and depending on the length of the records, it can be a rather long process from start to finish. Some of the records were difficult to read because of the use of abbreviations, and the faded ink, but some of the papers were very clear.
I think the best thing to do before one starts to read the service papers is to read the book, Canadians at War 1914-1919: A Research Guide to World War One Service Records, by retired Library and Archives Canada archivist, Glenn Wright.
This book, although it was written in 2010, is still THE book to read when researching CEF papers. If you read and study this book, you will have a good understanding of the records that you are viewing.
The book is for sale through Global Genealogy at http://globalgenealogy.com/countries/canada/military/resources/101160.htm
Don't forget to scroll down this page and see the book review I wrote for Families, the journal of the Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) http://www.ogs.on.ca, of which I am its editor.
Although the review was published four years ago, my opinion of his book has not wavered, and, in fact, the more I use it for research, the more invaluable I find it as a resource.
A table of contents of the book is available as a PDF file here - http://globalgenealogy.com/countries/canada/military/resources/images/101160-contents.pdf
For more on this blog, go to http://genealogycanada.blogspot.com/2011/12/my-list-of-books-for-holidays.html
To listen to the podcast, go to http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/news/podcasts/Pages/cef-files-1914-1918.aspx