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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.”


Updating collections for higher quality images

Posted on November 19, 2014 @3:52 pm by Emily Chicorli

One of the projects the Digitization Centre is embarking on includes rescanning photographs in the Japanese Canadian Photograph Collection and the MacMillan Bloedel Limited fonds. The goal is to provide users with high quality images and update the metadata to meet new standards.

The Japanese Canadian Photograph Collection documents the experiences of Canadians of Japanese descent in British Columbia with a strong emphasis on their treatment during World War Two.

The records of the MacMillan Bloedel Limited fonds (often referred to as “MacBlo”) document the history of one of the largest forest products companies in the world.

Photographs in both collections provide rich information about the history of British Columbia and provide different perspectives on life and industry in the province.

Stay tuned for high quality images and coherent metadata!

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Remembering with Photographs

Posted on November 19, 2014 @3:53 pm by Emily Chicorli

On Tuesday November 11th, 2014, British Columbia will be celebrating Remembrance Day along with the rest of Canada and Commonwealth countries to remember the men and women of the armed forces who died in the line of duty. Remembrance Day (Veteran’s Day in the United States) is a memorial day created in 1919 to remember the lives lost during World War One, which just had its 100th anniversary on August 4th, 2014. Remembrance Day has evolved to remember the men and women who served during other wars, such as World War Two and the Korean War, to military duties today.

We recognize Remembrance Day on November 11th because hostilities formally ended “at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day on the eleventh month” as representatives of Germany, Russia, France and Great Britain signed an armistice in 1918.

Rather than writing about the causes, events, and effects of the war, some of the students at the Digitization Centre have come across wonderful images taken on the front from the World War One British Press Collection that they think should be shared. While remembering the war as a horrific event that involved the loss of countless lives is one way to think about the past, we can also look for the joyous moments and remember what we fought for. Many of the photographs displayed in this post depict moments when soldiers were away from the battlefield, either enjoying recreational activities or happy moments on the job, and women and civilians contributing to the war effort.

On November 11th, we will remember those who fought in the past and those who are involved in military activity today.

 

To view more images, visit the World War One British Press Photograph collection

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How We Digitize: Multipage Scanners

Posted on November 19, 2014 @3:55 pm by Emily Chicorli

Another machine that we use on a regular basis here at the Digitization Centre are our Fujitsu fi-6670A multipage scanners.

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One of our lovely multipage scanners.

The Fujitsu scanners are high-speed, sheet-fed machines that can scan up to 90 pages per minute on both sides, which is approximately 180 images per minute. These multipage scanners can handle a range of material sizes, from business card size up to tabloid size. Although the image quality is not as good as the flatbed scanners, they are still useful for many projects. The BC Sessional Papers project, for example, primarily uses the Fujistu scanners to quickly and efficiently digitize the documents.

Some projects require an important step before we actually begin to scan the materials. This step involves removing the binding of volumes and cutting the pages to size. Here at the Digitization Centre, we use a large paper cutter (by Krug & Priester) nicknamed “The Discoverer” to cut the bindings off books and to cut the pages to a uniform size. Click here for a video of a student using “The Discoverer”.

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One of our students, Derek, demonstrating using The Discoverer. Click here to read more about about it.

 

How we use it the multipage scanners:

  1. Once we have the individual pages we then turn the scanner on and run the ScandAll Pro software to load on a Windows platform.
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    Volume has been disbound.

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    Now we have individual pages.

  2. After we have changed the scan settings in the software to our standards and preferences, we load the pages into the tray.
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    The pages need to be put face down, top first, so that the top of the pages pointing toward the scanner, into the feed tray.

    Pages loaded.

  3. We click scan and the the process begins! While the pages are scanning, we monitor the .tiff images appear on the computer.
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    Pages going through the scanner.

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    Monitoring the scans.

  4. After the volume or print has been scanned, we open the images in Photoshop to enhance the image.

    Preparing to edit in photoshop.

     

  5. Now the images are ready for the addition of metadata.

 

Stay tuned for our next post on our ATIZ scanners, used for imaging rare books!

Read our earlier posts in the How We Digitize series on:

Flat Bed Scanners
Conserving Materials
Disbinding volumes

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Costume Ideas Inspired by Our Digital Collections

Posted on November 19, 2014 @3:58 pm by Emily Chicorli

Still trying to decide on your epic Halloween costume? Then look no further! The Digitization Centres’ photographic collections have a plethora of images that can provide inspiration for costume ideas. Whether your budget is thrift-store-chic, you have some cash to spend, or, you are looking for costume ideas that you can base off your current (or parents’) wardrobe, I have scoured our photographs to provide some costume suggestions for you from the collections of:

The Termaine Arkley Croquet Collection
The Capilano Timber Company fonds
The Fisherman Publishing Society Collection
The Peter Anderson fonds
The UBC Library Framed Works
The Uno Langmann BC Historical Photograph Collection
The World War I British press photograph collection
and Discorder, a collection coming online in early 2015!

Ideas for a 1980’s inspired costume – dress up as 80s band members with your friends!

The bottom left image can also be used for inspiration for an 80s inspired band costume

Inspiration for an 80s costume. Image from Discorder, a collection coming online in early 2015.

Get a group of your friends together and dress up like you are all from an 80s band

More 80s band inspiration. Image from Discorder, a collection coming online in early 2015.

 

A Greek/Roman God or Goddess?

Ideas for a World War One inspired costume:

Soldier

 

Mechanic

 

Nurse

Ideas for an authentic lumber jack costume

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Men working in the timber/lumber industry, BC

 

The Mad Hatter

A 19th century inspired costume

A 1950’s inspired costume

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Image from Discorder, a collection coming online in early 2015.

How about a DIY partner costume? Be the Capilano suspension bridge!

What about a protester inspired costume?

A fisherman inspired costume

Partner Costume

 

Clown inspired costume

A Fine Looking Dandy

 

Someone from the 1920s 

 

Have you seen any costume ideas in our collections not mentioned here? If so, let us know in the comments below!

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Introducing the One Hundred Poets Project

Posted on February 16, 2015 @3:46 pm by Emily Chicorli

In an earlier post in our How We Digitize series, I spoke with UBC Library conservator, Anne Lama, about her role here at UBC and at the Digitization Centre.

Anne was here again a couple of weeks ago to work with students and the project leader of the One Hundred Poets project to determine what types of conservation treatments some of the materials may need before they get digitized.

The One Hundred Poets project is centered around a collection of largely Edo-period (1615-1868) material focusing on The One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each (Hyakunin isshu, hereafter HNIS) poetry collection, edited by the famous poet and scholar Fujiwara no Teika (1162-1241). This project is part of a larger project with Professor Joshua Mostow of the Department of Asian Studies and Shirin Eshghi of UBC’s Asian Library to digitize materials, create a database, as well as host seminars and exhibits. These works once digitized will complement the Library’s other major Japanese digital collection, the Beans Tokugawa Map Collection—one of the three most important collections of Edo-period Japanese maps in the world.

Some questions we had to consider:

  • What kinds of treatment or repairs do the objects need?
  • To what extent do we repair or conserve these objects so that we can digitize them properly, but ensure they do not loose any historical significance?
  • Which objects have priority and why?
  • What is the best method of scanning each fragile object?

 

Below are some images of materials Anne and the students looked at (click on any of the images to increase its size):

 

This volume has very tight binding, which restricts the amount of information we can get when trying to open the volume. Not only does the tight binding make it more difficult to read the text and view all of the images, it also makes it very difficult to scan the volume.

 

The main concern for this volume is that the pages are very soft and fragile as they have incurred a lot of damage, including crinkled and torn pages.

 

This large hardcover volume has a very tight original binding that obscures the text. We are hesitant to remove or change the original binding because it will loose its historical significance.

 

 

Many of the pages in this text are stuck together and the paper is very acidic.

 

This volume has been severely damaged by insects.

 

These oversized maps have to be flattened and strengthened.

 

The stickers need to be removed from these wooden blocks.

 

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Puban Project Complete and Online!

Posted on November 19, 2014 @4:01 pm by Emily Chicorli

The Puban project in collaboration with Sun Yat-Sen Library, part of the Guangzhou library in Guangdong Province in China, is complete. There are 29 digitized titles each with multiple fascicles. The scanning process primarily involved the use of our ATIZ scanners (a How We Digitize blog post about these scanners is coming soon!).

The core of the Puban (蒲坂藏書) was originally a part of the famed Nanzhou Shu Lou (南州書樓), a large private library owned by Xu Shaoqi (徐紹棨) (1879–1948), a professor of Chinese literature and bibliography, curator of the Guangdong Provincial Library and one of the renowned bibliophiles of South China. The focus of the Nanzhou was primarily census and historical records, documents and literature of Xu’s native province. Some of these works are unique, original copies drawn from the Nanzhou materials that were transferred from the Mainland to the Yao (姚) Family in Macau during World War II. The new owner, Mr. Yao Junshi (姚鈞石), enlarged the collection with high quality works of a similar nature and gave it its present name, the Puban.

Click here to view the collection 

Click here to read an earlier post about the Puban project.

 

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New album featuring photographs from Carlo Gentile

Posted on November 19, 2014 @4:02 pm by Emily Chicorli

Another album from the Uno Langmann BC Historical Photograph collection has been uploaded onto our Digital Collections web page!

Thirty-six of the photographs in this album were taken by Carlo Gentile (1835-1893), an Italian photographer who immigrated to North America. In 1863 he traveled through the wilds of British Columbia where he photographed Pacific Coast Indians and gold mines. He is known for his ethnographic documentation about Native Americans. 

Here are some highlights from the album (click on the image to make it larger):

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Cariboo Waggon Road around China…[1860-1885?]. Carlo Gentile. Uno Langmann collection.

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[Illegible] House on the…[1860-1885?]. Carlo Gentile. Uno Langmann collection.

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[View of people in front of…] [1860-1885?]. Carlo Gentile. Uno Langmann collection.

Group of Camloops Indians. [1860-1885?]. Carlo Gentile. Uno Langmann collection.

Group of Camloops Indians. [1860-1885?]. Carlo Gentile. Uno Langmann collection.

Group of Fraser River Indians. [1860-1885?]. Carlo Gentile. Uno Langmann collection.

Group of Fraser River Indians. [1860-1885?]. Carlo Gentile. Uno Langmann collection.

The Cameron Claim, 1/2 mile below Barkerville. [1860-1885?]. Carlo Gentile. Uno Langmann collection.

The Cameron Claim, 1/2 mile below Barkerville. [1860-1885?]. Carlo Gentile. Uno Langmann collection.

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Mining ditch below Barkerville. [1860-1885?]. Carlo Gentile. Uno Langmann collection.

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Images make for great seminar materials

Posted on November 19, 2014 @4:04 pm by Emily Chicorli

The Uno Langmann BC Historical Photograph Digital Collection, consisting of over 15,300 photographs and postcards, is being used in ARTH 443 Issues and Problems in Canadian Art and Photography: Photo Fever and the Uno Langmann Archive, taught by John O’Brian from the Department of Art History.The seminar in Canadian art aims to critically think about how photographs and archives raise questions about how memory functions. The Uno Langmann collection includes extensive coverage of B.C. from the 1850s to the 1950s and includes photographs in a wide variety of formats and genres including albums, diaries, portraits, landscapes and city/townscapes.

Wishing the class a successful semester!

Indian group at Lytton

Indian group at Lytton. [1867-1868?]. Uno Langmann collection.

The Never Sweat Tunnel Company

The Never Sweat Tunnel Company. [1867-1868?]. Uno Langmann collection.

The Hamilton family

The Hamilton family. [1867-1868?]. Uno Langmann collection.

Colonial Hotel, Soda Creek

Colonial Hotel, Soda Creek. [1867-1868?]. Uno Langmann collection.

 

ARTH 443 Course Description:

Some of the classes for the seminar take place looking at historical photographs in Rare Books and Special Collections. The purpose is to think through photography and the archive in tandem. Photographs and archives both raise troubling questions about how memory functions. Are they a force for knowing and remembering or a force for forgetting and disavowal? Do they help to reveal reality or do they serve to flatten knowledge of the past? How should we understand the Internet as an archive and the place of photography in it? Because ARTH 443 is a seminar in Canadian art and photography, attention is paid to Canadian images and texts where relevant.

About the Uno Langmann BC Historical Photograph Collection:

The digital collection is a subset of The Uno Langmann Family Collection of B.C. Photographs, donated by Uno and Dianne Langmann and Uno Langmann Limited, which consists of more than 18,000 rare and unique early photographs from the 1850s to the 1970s. It is considered the premiere private collection of early provincial photos, and an important illustrated history of early photographic methods.

Images from the collection are being digitized on an ongoing basis and will be available for viewing on the Library’s website. Library users will be able to request items from the collection through UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections.

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How We Digitize: Conserving Materials With Anne Lama

Posted on November 19, 2014 @4:05 pm by Emily Chicorli

Photo by Emily Chicorli.

Photo by Emily Chicorli.

Did you know that the Digitization Centre requires some materials to be assessed and handled by a conservator before they are digitized and put online?

Well I sure did not know this until I met Anne Lama, library conservator, for UBC Library’s extensive physical collections. Lama, who has worked at the National Archives in Paris, France, as a conservator for ten years with additional experience in graphic art restoration, manages the degradation of paper, leather, newsprint and other items in UBC’s large collections to assist librarians and archivists in making the materials accessible for current and future users.

When the Digitization Centre works with some materials that are very delicate, old, or require conservation methods, Lama provides her expertise on how to handle and take care of these materials, as well as prepares some objects prior to digitization to ensure the materials are handled safely. She has been very kind in taking some time to answer a few questions regarding her work for the Digitization Centre:

  1. What is your role here at UBC? “I am a Conservator at UBC Library, which means that I take care of the preservation of books and heritage documents. The field is wide as it concerns prevention and curation. Mainly, the prevention focus is on users’ education (patrons and staff), on climate control, expertise on infestation risks (mold, insects, and rodents), providing protective housing for materials, disaster recovery, and assisting with plans for digitization and restoration. Curation happens when prevention/preservation has failed. Curation can include repairing tears in paper, flattening large maps or photographs, removing harmful residues such as mold, tape, bindings, and so forth. Rare books and books in circulation are concerned, but the level of work is different.”
  2. In your opinion, what is the purpose of digitization? “In my opinion, digitization is a means of preservation and conservation of our heritage if it is done with intelligent collaboration between services. Digitization preserves the documents from mechanical damage. Online access allows for a wide diffusion of the information and a reduction of physical handling. Digitization also offers a possibility of information preservation when the document risks disappearing or when the document is not accessible anymore because of the physical condition.”
  3. Can you provide some examples of how you prepare documents, books, or objects for digitization? “Preparing documents for digitization is to make the documents safe, make the handling easy for the operator, and improve the visibility. This means that I provide recommendations on how to conserve materials and I inform and work with the operators to manage the conservation. Then, I intervene if the documents need it. Some examples of intervention:a. The intervention may be to clean an object and improve the contrast before the digitization process begins.
    Dry or water cleaning is applied to this object to improve contrast. Photo by Anne Lama.

    Dry or water cleaning is applied to this object to improve contrast. Photo by Anne Lama.

    b. The intervention may be to dismount a volume and unstick certain parts in order to access hidden information.

    Document from the Royal Fisk Gold Rush Letters collection that requires the removal of a covering to access the writing underneath. The letters in the collection are bound together with tags and sewn into a volume. Parts of text are sometimes hidden by the tags. Photo by Anne Lama.

    Document from the Royal Fisk Gold Rush Letters collection that requires the removal of a covering to access the writing underneath. The letters in the collection are bound together with tags and sewn into a volume. Parts of text are sometimes hidden by the tags. Photo by Anne Lama.

    c. The intervention may be to dismount a framed picture for unaesthetic reasons.

    The photograph was removed from the frame as there was water damage and was unaesthetic for digitization (front of frame). Photo by Anne Lama.

    The photograph was removed from the frame as there was water damage and was unaesthetic for digitization (front of frame). Photo by Anne Lama.

     

    Back of frame. Photo by Anne Lama.

    Back of frame. Photo by Anne Lama.

    d. The intervention may be to flatten a large map or photographs curved by climatic conditions, such as high levels of humidity.

    Before shot of photographs that needed to be flattened due to humidity. Photo by Anne Lama.

    Before shot of photographs that needed to be flattened due to humidity. Photo by Anne Lama.

    After shot of photographs that were flattened. Photo by Anne Lama.

    After shot of photographs that were flattened. Photo by Anne Lama.

    e. The intervention may be to repair a tear or fold in paper to limit the possibility of more damage. In the worst case, some documents may have to undergo major restoration.

    Repairing a tear to help keep document safe during handling and to reduce risks of further harm. Photo by Anne Lama.

    Repairing a tear to help keep document safe during handling and to reduce risks of further harm. Photo by Anne Lama.

  4. Can you name one or two favorite projects that you’ve worked on? So far I have really enjoyed working on the Puban collection. Some of these Asian books are tightly bound which doesn’t allow for easy digitization with the margin as it is. A prior test was done in order to evaluate the possibility and the time needed to dismount them. One of the main considerations is that we need to preserve all historical traces, such as the sewing technics and the original materials. After a collaborative decision was made between the Digital Initiatives department, the conservator, and the UBC Asian Library librarians, we decided to dismount and rebind the texts that were in the worst condition (images below). It was a small project, but it was well prepared for in advance that included all involved parties with connection to the collection being involved and on the same page for the good of the documents. Furthermore, the dismounting gave me more knowledge about Asiatic binding.”

    Document from the Puban collection. Photo by Anne Lama.

    Document from the Puban collection. Photo by Anne Lama.

Photo by Anne Lama.

Document from the Puban collection (closed). Photo by Anne Lama.

Thank you to Anne Lama for answering our questions and providing the images for this blog post.

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How We Digitize: Flatbed Scanning

Posted on February 16, 2015 @3:43 pm by Emily Chicorli

How We Digitize – A new blog series that will reveal some of the tools and machines we use to digitize materials.

Some of the most commonly used machines in the Digitization Centre are flatbed scanners (Epson Perfection V750 Pro). These scanners are typically used for photographs and documents that are 8.5 x 11 inches or smaller, although there are cases when bound books or documents are scanned with these machines. Decisions regarding whether or not to use flatbed scanners depend on the project and the type of materials to be scanned.

The flatbed scanners are one of the preferred machines because they produce some of the best quality images (most images are scanned at 600 PPI – pixels per inch). Even extremely tiny objects, such as tiny cards with writing, can be scanned for excellent quality.

<c> An image of an Epson Perfection V750 Pro flat bed scanner in the Digitization Centre. </c>

Epson Perfection V750 Pro flat bed scanner in the Digitization Centre.

Sometimes the Digitization Centre uses flatbed scanners to scan small physical objects. A few weeks ago we needed to digitize amulets found in a burial site for the UBC CNERS Artifact Collections, a project to create a digital database of the archaeological teaching collections at the University of British Columbia. The staff tried to use one of the more intricate machines, but the best images actually came from the flatbed scanners. Details on the amulets that were invisible before, such as distinct colors, were visible in the scans. (See the UBC CNERS Artifact Collections for more information and additional images of the artifacts taken with the TTI workstation, as well as the Epigraphic Squeezes collection).

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Two Egyptian amulets scanned by the flatbed scanner. For more details see http://cnerscollections.omeka.net/items/show/125

Another instance when the flatbed scanners were used to digitize small physical objects involved scanning a cuneiform table the size of an individual mini wheat cereal piece (also part of the UBC CNERS Artifact Collections). The scans produced images that allowed for the texture and details to be represented in the image.

Front and back of a cuneiform tablet scanned by the flatbed scanner. For more information see http://cnerscollections.omeka.net/items/show/129

Front and back of a cuneiform tablet scanned by the flatbed scanner, dated to the Ur III period, c. 2100-2000 BCE, possibly Sumerian script. The tablet depicts a receipt for the delivery of livestock and possibly oil. For more details see http://cnerscollections.omeka.net/items/show/129


How we use flatbed scanners:

  1. We place the photograph, document or object onto the right hand corner of the glass.
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Preparing to scan.

  1. Once the object is in place, we close the top (which has a film pad that helps keep the object in place. Sometimes when additional pressure is required, we add books to the top of the scanner to ensure the document or photograph are laying flat).
  1. Once the object has been previewed and scanned we save the image and open the file in Photoshop to process the image, such as straightening the image, adjusting the color range, sharpening the image, cropping the image and so forth. The goal of processing the image in Photoshop is to enhance it slightly, so that all features are viewable on a device or a print out. We do not want to alter the integrity of the original object by changing too many features. We would not, for example, over saturate an image, or crop huge portions of the image out. If we did this, much of the original context of the object (whether it is a document or a photograph) would be gone.

    Preparing to process the image in Photoshop CS6.

    Preparing to process the image in Photoshop CS6.

  2. The image is then ready to have metadata added to it and put online. To view our current online collections, see the UBC Library Digital Collections website.

Stay tuned for the next post in this series about multipage scanners!

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