Here at the Digitization Centre we are fascinated and excited by the vast amount of primary-source material that our digitization work exposes us to. Whether a document of historic significance, a beautiful illustration, or even a particularly fine typeface, we are frequently amazed by the materials we’re working to share with the world. So much so, that not only will we crowd around to ogle a particularly interesting specimen, but we’ve started decorating our workplace with copies of some of our favorites. But why stop there? Surely, we can’t be the only ones geeky enough to appreciate such “gems” in our collections, and so we’ve decided to share them here with you. Below you will find some of our favorites, hand-picked by staff from both existing and upcoming collections. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do! TIP: To view full resolution versions of the images on any size screen, click to enlarge and then right-click and select “open image in new tab.”
Posted on July 19, 2017 @2:35 pm by liz otero
The objects within Open Collections are beautiful, often rare, and allow connection with history as only primary sources can. As your humble blog correspondent, I am consistently struck with how different things were, yet what we are interested in, our concerns, and struggles are the same. This week, let’s see what the past has to tell us about how to live our lives.
Facts and figures relating to Vancouver Island and British Columbia showing what to expect and how to get there by Joseph Despard Pemberton. I moved to Vancouver about a year ago, and am always interested in different historical perspectives on this place.
This section of a book containing Chinese medicine formulas could be exactly what you need! It may have been brought by or for the Freemasons.
The Traité Général des Pesches, et histoire des Poissons qu’elles fournissent, tant pour la subsistance des hommes, que pour plusieurs autres usages qui ont rapport aux arts et au commerce contains everything one needs to know about fish, fisheries, and everything connected. I’ve never gone further than a hook and line, maybe this is the time to obtain to a fishing boat?
This set of correspondence regarding a herring shipment from the Chung Collection proves that sometimes, life is just paperwork.
This letter from the History of Nursing in Pacific Canada reminds me that it’s always the right time to write a letter to someone I care about.No Comments
Posted on July 18, 2017 @2:05 pm by liz otero
When we last met, we had found a photo of an old growth forest:
Scrolling down on this screen reveals the metadata* attached to the item:
I want to continue my search, and so I’m going to look at the area called “Subject”, here listed as Forestry; Logs; Cedar trees. To start out, I’ll use “Cedar trees”, since we’re looking for photos of the forest, not specifically logging.
For the search, I’ll go back to the home of open collections: open.library.ubc.ca (Starting at the “home screen” will ensure that my search will be a clean slate.)
See how I’ve put the subject that I’m looking for in quotation marks (“”)? This ensures that I’ll get things with the entire phrase, not just cedar or trees.
With this subject, I’ve got 546 results, that I can peruse at my leisure.
Let’s try a different strategy: our own search terms! Generally this is the first option that people use, which is why our tutorial started in other places.
The original question was for old growth forests, so I’m going to use these direct words. To formulate my query, I will try to get as narrow of a result as possible at first, just to see what’s out there.
For a specific query, I will use
forests AND “old growth”
I don’t need all of these words to be in the same place, or a specific order, in my search results, so they are separated. However, I do want *all* of these words, so I’m using an AND within my query.
After searching, I find that there are 1711 objects, many of which are texts:
As I scroll through, I’m finding mostly objects from BC Sessional Papers, which are interesting and may help expand my knowledge for future searches, but are not what I’m looking for now. Let’s see what a search for just forest turns up:
I’ve filtered to look only at still images, and we have 489 photos. If this were my search, I’d scroll through, and then look at the subjects of another photo that fit what I was looking for. Because “forest” is a broader term than “Cedar trees” that we used above, these photos aren’t as close of a fit as we would like- it’s worth the time to find the words that work for the system you’re using.
Thank you all, and happy searching!
*metadata: a set of information about the object, used in this instance for access to the object
Posted on June 29, 2017 @11:34 am by liz otero
This week on the blog, we’ll use Open Collections to search for some images. @VanBigTrees submitted this question on Twitter:
Let’s get started!
First, we’ll go to Open Collections at https://open.library.ubc.ca/
From here, we can start a search a few ways. Today, we’ll explore using the collections, and next week, we’ll work with keyword searches. First, let’s select the “Browse by Collection” button to see if there are any collections that might be helpful to us:
I chose to scroll through these collections and open up the Capilano Timber Company Fonds:
Since I’m looking for photos of old-growth forests, a logging company might feel counter-intuitive. One strategy among many is to search for the opposite of what you’re looking for: a logging company would need documentation of what was there before they cut it down.
This is the front page of the collection: Here you can see dates, subjects, and if you scroll, a brief overview of the collection. Since I don’t know what’s here, I’m going to search all the items in the collection; type an asterisk (*) in the search bar.
Here is the list of everything in the collection- all 151 items. Since I’m looking for images of forests, I’ll see what my options are in the “Subject” field over on the left hand side.
I like one entitled “Capilano Cedar”
An old-growth forest photo!! Come back next week for the next stage of the search: using subject terms and keywords.No Comments
Posted on June 14, 2017 @2:10 pm by liz otero
Vancouver is greening up spectacularly with the warmer weather. We’re enjoying many lunchtimes in the beautiful gardens here at UBC, and soaking up as much greenery as we possibly can while it’s here! This week on the blog, we’re taking a photo tour through the Nitobe Memorial Garden.
The Nitobe Memorial Garden is on UBC’s Vancouver campus, but it feels like another world entirely – winding paths encourage contemplation and reflection. Over the years many photographers have captured glimpses of the gardens, views that will have to satisfy us until we can make it back.
Visitors enjoy the garden in 1975:
A view of the garden in the 1960’s:
Mrs. Tetsuo Ban with Ishadora (Japanese Lantern) during presentation ceremony April 28, 1966
Women in costume for a performance of Madame Butterfly in 1960:No Comments
Posted on June 8, 2017 @9:27 am by liz otero
British Columbia in the second half of the nineteenth century is defined by her gold rushes. Various prospectors, miners, entrepreneurs, and other settlers descended upon BC in waves, and the documents they’ve left behind are as varied as they were.
This broadsheet, The Frazer River Thermometer, both offers advice and gently ribs the potential prospector.
One of these men is not dressed appropriately for the job… (from the Jane Eva Denison fonds, album “Caravaning to the land of golden twilight”)
And this monograph is too good (and a good length for a blog post), so we present the entire thing:
The information deemed necessary seems quite slim: a helpful page of figures, a map, and some adverts for underclothing.
There are quite a few books concerning the gold rush within the collection, especially from the BC Historical Books Collection. This one is a fictional take on the Cariboo rush: (click through for the entire monograph!)
Have you ever searched for gold-rush era documents within Open Collections? Is there anything we can help you find?No Comments
Posted on May 25, 2017 @3:47 pm by liz otero
Not surprisingly, we at the Digitization Centre are a big fan of analytics. Data about how people use the data and images we produce? Our knees are weak. What we’ve learned is that our blog post from 2013 regarding the BC Historical Newspapers Collection is one of the most often used, so an update including the last four years of work seems appropriate. Without futher ado:
These titles and date ranges are current as of the publication of this blog post- for the most current list, please see: https://open.library.ubc.ca/collections/bcnewspapers
Please let us know in the comments if you access the papers, and anything interesting that you find! We are still digitizing newspapers from all over British Columbia, with no end in sight.No Comments
Posted on August 1, 2017 @12:36 pm by liz otero
There are so many amazing local materials within Open Collections at UBC Library (https://open.library.ubc.ca/). When local events and news happen, a text search for topics can reveal some interesting background or even just great stories to read.
With the provincial election last week in British Columbia, a search for electoral stories led us to this issue of Kinesis:
Kinesis was a Canadian national newspaper which focused on women and women’s issues. It was based in Vancouver and was published from 1974 to 2001. The Digitization Centre has digital copies available of this amazing newspaper, full of insights, opinions, and context for those of us who call Canada, and Vancouver, home. Also, there is some amazing artwork! A few of our favorites below:
A 2-page spread from the same issue.
Have you ever ended up reading articles from online newspapers? Were you looking for something specific, or end up down the rabbit hole?No Comments
Posted on July 19, 2017 @2:35 pm by liz otero
As one of many collections of correspondence housed at the University of British Columbia, the Florence Nightingale Letters collection demonstrates the enjoyment of exploration through the life and thoughts of such a famous person.
Through the timeline browser on the front page of the collection, one has access to letters from as far back as 1845—a letter to an aunt updating her on the goings on of herself and her acquaintances. Thankfully, the full text of the letters is searchable and readable below the images themselves—as examples like this one, while beautiful, are not as helpful to the modern eye.
In perusing the collection, I personally was struck most by this post script from a quick note in 1986: “I do not think he had heard of the nefarious Cistern doings”. Nefarious doings!
We hope you’ll enjoy this correspondence and other text-based collections—a truly unique glimpse into a life not our own.No Comments
Posted on July 18, 2017 @2:58 pm by kristina mcguirk
A famous actress of her time (1939-1895), Cavendish was known for playing Mercy Merrick in New Magdalen and Mrs. Darlington in For Love or Money, among many others. She performed and produced in the UK and toured in America, notably brining the plays of Wilkie Collins to popularity the States.
McCarty was a champion American boxer who died during a match against Canadian Arthur Pelkey in Calgary in 1913. The fate of the event influenced boxing in Alberta, although it was later determined that McCarty died as a result of other causes.
Or collections include a potentially distressing photo of McCarthy, depicting men trying to revive him after his collapse. Accounts of this final fight, and the repercussions, can also be found by searching for the boxer in various newspaper articles of the BC Historical Newspapers collection.
Laura was awarded the Royal Red Cross medal for her work as a nurse serving the Canadian Army Medical Corps in both France and Greece from 1915-1918. Her legacy shaped children and social welfare for British Columbia. She worked to implement the Infants Act, the Adoption Act, and the Children of Unmarried Parents Act. In 1933, she became the Deputy Superintendent of Child Welfare for the province, and in 1938 the Advisor to the Minister of Health and Welfare on Social Welfare Policy position was created specifically for her.
The Laura Holland fonds were recently digitized as part of the History of Nursing in Pacific Canada collection.
Sir Tyrone Guthrie
A well-known figure in theatre around the world, Sir Guthrie pioneered radio play broadcasts for the BBC and gained fame as a stage director across the UK, including a stint as the resident producer-director at the Old Vic. After leaving the UK, he helped develop the Stratford Festival in Stratford, Ontario, Canada, and the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.
Nearly 300 images can be seen thanks to the digitized album of Laura Glenn, a chairwoman of the Canadian Red Cross Corps in Windsor, Ontario and member of the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II. Glenn’s photos largely cover her time in Europe between 1940 and 1950, including bombed-out city views and the War Court trials in Hamburg, military events, social outings, and travels and historic sites.
A Canadian born in Ontario, Conde became a U.S. citizen and gained attention as the head of the Motion Picture Department of the Civil Information and Education Section in 1945-1946. He also was known for covering the Tokyo War Crimes Trials from 1946-1947. The collection includes records from the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (1946-47) from Conde’s own research notes to photographs, ephemera and trial transcripts. Some materials are available through our digital collections, but the full fonds is in UBC’s Rare Books and Special Collections.
“Allen Sillas Wilmot and Mary Corburt”
And, finally, there’s one group that’s definitely peaked our interest, and we wish we knew more about them. The album [Jock Taylor’s Travels] is believed to depict the adventures of the HMS Zealous, including this photo captioned as “Allen Sillas Wilmot and Mary Corburt.” They’re a rather smiley crew for the period. But who were they? Not all that hair is real, right? And what’s with the poses? And, most pressingly, what do the two hand signals mean?
Posted on June 29, 2017 @11:31 am by kristina mcguirk
The school term is over, finals are over, the sun is shining for more than an hour at a time… We’re spotting signs of summer both outside and in our collections!