Topic Pages: An Introduction

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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Here’s a little insider information:  the NCCEH website was designed around the premise that people come to our website with a problem that needs solving and not to take a recreational stroll through our site.  We have tried to facilitate “discoverability” on the site, to be sure, but the main expectation has always been that we are serving busy people in a work environment and that they know what they want before they get to our site.  As it turns out, about 80% of our web traffic comes from search engine referrals so it seems we might have gotten this right.

Topic Page Introduction

Knowing that most of our visitors are finding us through search engines and that they are very focused on a particular problem, we have created what we are calling “topic” pages. Topic pages introduce an aspect of environment health through a curated shortlist of online resources.  In particular, topic pages will have:

  • Select NCCEH resources
  • Key documents from Canada and around the world
  • References to relevant legislation
  • Academic and Grey literature references

One of the big debates that we had within our KT team while developing this concept was how do we make sure we found all the “right” references.  Our attitude early on was “more is better” but early prototypes of the concept had dozens of references and were pages long.  Rather than being helpful, they were mostly unreadable. 

We refined the concept and decided to select the 3-5 most relevant resources related to a particular section on a particular topic (i.e. the 3-5 key Canadian documents on Cannabis) as a way to introduce you to a topic and to provide a jumping off point for future searching. The listed links are not intended to be exhaustive and the omission of any individual resource does not preclude it from having value. We either didn’t know about it or we decided not to use it.

Topics covered

As this blog article is being written, there are 23 different topics listed on our Topic Summary page.  We will definitely be adding more topics to the list so we encourage you to have a browse around and we welcome your suggestions about which area we should prioritize. Suggestions can be sent through email to ( or Twitter (@ncceh).