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.”

The Delgamuukw Trial Transcripts

Posted on January 10, 2018 @11:50 am by pughchr

Aboriginal (Un)History Month










For Aboriginal (Un)History Month, we are featuring our digital collection of the Delgamuukw trial transcripts, which document a landmark case in British Columbian and Canadian history.

The Delgamuukw case began in 1984 with the Gitxan and Wet’suwet’en Nations claiming ownership and jurisdiction over 58,000 square kilometres of British Columbia, and ended in the Supreme Court of Canada in 1997. No decision was reached on the land claim; however, the Delgamuukw case set many important precedents in Canadian treaty negotiations. These precedents concern many legal questions, such as


  • the definitions of aboriginal rights and title
  • the potential extent of aboriginal title across British Columbia
  • the potential conflicts between aboriginal title and private property ownership
  • the standing of aboriginal oral histories as reliable historical records


Furthermore, the Supreme Court decision helps to outline how conflicts between aboriginal and non-aboriginal people may be resolved through open and creative negotiations.

Our digital collection has been recently updated with additional metadata and high-quality PDF downloads, so that the documents may be more easily discovered and accessed. To see our collection, click here.

For a more in-depth summary of the significance of the Delgamuukw case, see the article here.

For UBC’s research guide concerning the Delgamuukw case, click here.

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The “Tairiku Nippō” (Continental Daily News)

Posted on January 10, 2018 @12:08 pm by Rob

The “Tairiku Nippō” (Continental Daily News) was a predominantly Japanese language newspaper published in Vancouver, British Columbia from January 1908 through December 6, 1941, the eve of Pearl Harbor. One of the few sources of news for Japanese immigrants to Canada the newspaper is a unique cultural record of the Japanese-Canadian experience in Canada. The UBC Library, with the kind permission of Alfred Iwasaki, a descendent of the original publisher and owner Yasushi Yamazaki, is making this resource available again for a new generation of scholars. To view the ongoing project please visit the collection’s site.

Front page of the "Tairiku Nippō" (Continental Daily News), Saturday, December 6, 1941

The front page of the The Saturday, December 6, 1941 “Tairiku Nippō” (Continental Daily News)

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A picture’s worth a thousand words…

Posted on January 10, 2018 @4:23 pm by Laura Ferris

The Chung Collection contains thousands of photographs and slides, many of which we have already uploaded to CONTENTdm and are available online through the Chung Collection website. While we continue to upload new items, we are also doing a little bit of file maintenance and upgrading on the existing files, also known as the “glamorous part of digitization”.

The interesting part about this process is that as we chip away at the file swapping we have the opportunity to look back at a number of the photographs and there is quite a variety! The photographs come from a number of different sources so the subjects vary from local to around the world, from family portraits to the Egyptian Pyramids.

Here’s a selection of photographs that stood out for us.

CC-PH-04943 CC-PH-04661 CC-PH-04700 CC-PH-04567

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King Neptune’s Dinner Party

Posted on January 10, 2018 @11:46 am by Larissa

King Neptune's Dinner Party cover

King Neptune’s Dinner Party cover

If you read Laura’s previous post on the Empress of Britain, you’ll have some appreciation for this gorgeous old Canadian Pacific ocean liner.  The Chung Collection has some wonderful ephemera related the ship including this pamphlet for King Neptune’s Dinner Party from the 1934 world cruise.  Not only the menu for the dinner party (iced papayeas, turtle soup and roasted pheasant), it includes the musical selections for the evening, and an illustrated cover of Neptune on a giant fish.

This item and other related materials coming to the Chung Collection soon.






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Westland television series

Posted on January 10, 2018 @12:26 pm by Rob

(Click image to enlarge)

The Westland television series was produced and hosted from 1984 to 2007 by Mike Halleran and broadcast on the Knowledge Network in British Columbia. The content of the show covers a broad range of environmental issues of importance to the province as well as more generally including forestry practices, wildlife conservation and human impact on the environment. Both the broadcast tapes (in varying forms of video) and the raw production footage was donated to the UBC Library in 2011. We have now made the broadcast footage available in our digital collections portal. This still is from an episode called “Back from the Brink: The efforts to save Vancouver Island Marmots from extinction.” Enjoy!

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BC Bibliography Metadata Mania

Posted on January 10, 2018 @11:32 am by Schuyler Lindberg

Unlike the majority of the content on the Digitizers’ blog, this post does not involve pretty pictures or interesting nuggets of historical information.  Instead, it will cover a very different aspect of the work performed in the Digital Initiatives unit: Metadata.  To be more specific, descriptive metadata; less glamorous perhaps than the maps and images we typically share in this forum, but without a significant amount of behind-the-scenes metadata work, searching for a particular image in our digital collections would be akin to looking for a needle in an enormous pile of very-similar needles.  While the following procedures will  probably be most interesting to our colleagues in libraries, archives, and other information science disciplines who deal with these kinds of issues on a daily basis, we hope also to shed some light for the average user on both how and why we spend a significant amount of our time developing and implementing useful metadata for our collections.

BC Bibliography Metadata Overview

The BC Bibliography collection is inspired by (and based closely on) a three volume printed bibliography of the same name.  In a sense, these volumes contain only metadata.  That is, the title, author, and descriptive data included in the printed bibliography serves as a guide for locating the texts and documents that it refers to.

The original print bibliographies.

In much the same way, the metadata we create provides a means for users to locate the digital documents in our collections.  The metadata schema for the BC Bibliography digital collection is designed specifically to supplement full text searches with results for related terms and to provide a faceted browsing experience in which users can select terms from several categorical lists to narrow down their results.

Preparing the metadata from the printed bibliography for use in an online environment is typically accomplished with what is known in information-professional circles as a “crosswalk,” which matches metadata fields from one  “standard” schema to another.  While the name calls to mind a nice clear path, in the real world things are almost never that simple.  Fields from one schema seldom all match up 1:1 with the fields in the desired schema meaning that somehow data will either need to be split from a single field into multiple fields or visa versa. In practice this is akin to fitting a square peg in a round hole.

The final metadata for the BC Bibliography digital collection involved crosswalking three (or more) separate metadata sources into one.  Because we wanted to provide the most complete metadata possible we decided to include not only the data from the original print bibliographies (which are missing subject data crucial to the desired faceted browsing experience), but also data from the contributing institution’s library catalogue record and the most complete record available through WorldCat (an industry-standard catalogue record aggregator).  As one might imagine, this presented a host of issues including both the basic logistics of how to collect and combine all this data, and how to handle the numerous duplicates and inconsistencies inherent to mashing together so many disparate sets of data.  Furthermore, the Library of Congress subject headings we were able to collect through this method proved unsuitable for the type of faceted browsing planned for the BC Bibliography collection, and needed to be split into constituent phrases (rather than the familiar dash — separated — format).  Ultimately we were able to combine these records, split and reformat the subject fields, normalize the data, and remove all duplicates to end up with a properly formatted tab-seperated text file for batch uploading into our CONTENTdm based collection. If you’d like to know more about how it was all done, read on…

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Cruising through a collection

Posted on January 10, 2018 @11:46 am by Laura

Illustration of the Empress of Britain by Kenneth D Shoesmith, found inside a promotional booklet for the ship

Every time we open a new box from the Chung Collection to digitize, it’s always exciting to see what’s in store for us. Sometimes the boxes are filled with Canadian Pacific pamphlets about train travel across the Rockies or vacation trips for “couples only” to Mexico, or menus from the Empress Hotel or Sporting Maps.

In Box 219, we found the usual array of items from menus to shuffleboard game rules, but what sets this box apart from some of the others is that every single item relates to the CP ocean liner the Empress of Britain.

The Empress of Britain was launched in 1931 as the largest passenger ship in the CP fleet and traveled the world in first class style. Not only was she launched by British Royalty, but also was host to HM King George VI and Queen Elizabeth at the end of their Canadian tour in 1939. The Empress of Britain sank in name of “King and Country” in 1940 after she had been converted from a luxury ocean liner to ferrying troops across the Atlantic Ocean as part of the war effort.

The items within Box 219 cover many transatlantic and world wide sailings, however it is possible to pick out items from an individual sailing including passenger lists, drink lists, programs of entertainment, luncheon menus, abstract logs of sailing, and personal letters written by passengers aboard the ship.  With all this we are able to create a profile of what life aboard the Empress of Britain was like, including weather throughout each sailing, which prominent people were on board and what they would eat while dining with the ship’s Captain. Meanwhile, other documents allow us to compare this with what the third class passengers could expect for their meals.

Items like these highlight the depth of the Chung Collection and give us a glimpse of life in a different era. The individual items, although interesting in isolation, become much more meaningful when correlated with other material within the collection.

Here are a few examples from Box 219.

Letter written by a passenger while on board the Empress of Britain to family in Massachusetts Apartment plan for the Empress of Britain, showing all compartments and decksAbstract log from the Empress of Britain
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Valentine’s Messages from Canadian Pacific

Posted on February 14, 2013 @10:56 am by Larissa

Canadian Pacific Telegram book cover

Canadian Pacific Telegram book cover

It’s 1912 and you are reclining on your Canadian Pacific Railway seat having just finished a hearty lunch of roast beef and custard pudding. You gaze out at the prairie scenery and think ahead fondly to your family waiting for you at home – it’s been a long trip and you are looking forward to seeing them in 2 day’s time.

Then you open up the newspaper and spill your coffee, just a little bit, as you notice the date.  February 14th – you forgot Valentine’s Day.

Never fear!  Your trusty CP Rail porter can organize a telegram to be sent at the next stop, to be delivered by a uniformed messenger (location dependent) and enclosed in an attractive envelope.  And if you aren’t the poetic type, take advantage of one of these specially prepared texts to declare your love:

I picked my Valentine for life, sweetest and fairest of all, my wife.

Prefer something a little more dramatic?

Faint heart, they say, ne’er won fair lady. My heart is strong for you this Valentine’s Day.

Or maybe it’s for someone that you’re still wooing:

Be my Valentine. Say you care. Give all those other guys the air.

And there’s always this one. Perhaps racier-sounding today than in 1912:

You’re dearest to me of all your sex. All I can say is x x x.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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BC Historical Newspapers Update

Posted on January 10, 2018 @3:50 pm by mikec

Update: A list current in May 2017 can be found here: http://digitize.library.ubc.ca/uncategorized/bc-historical-newspapers-update-2017/

The BC Historical Newspapers portal is one of our most heavily used digital collections. Occasionally we are delightfully surprised to find out about the creative ways people find to use the collections. Two of our favourite projects come to us courtesy of the great work by folks at Heritage Vancouver and the Revelstoke Museum & Archives: Heritage Vancouver used the Daily Building Record to locate previously missing 1912 Vancouver building permits for the Heritage Vancouver Society Building Permits Database Revelstoke Museum & Archives is using several BC Historical Newspapers titles in the history of snow and avalanche research for an upcoming exhibit. In the process, they are finding information on previously unknown avalanche events and will be adding them to the Canadian Avalanche Centre Database Have you used the BC Historical Newspapers for your own project? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

New in BC Historical Newspapers

Over the past few months, DI staff have been quietly adding issues to the BC Historical Newspapers portal. Since the site first launched in November 2011 we have added 9 new titles in addition to completing the remaining partial runs of 9 of the original titles. In all we have added an additional 8000 issues consisting of over 42,000 pages of community newspapers, nearly matching the original 45,000 pages.

Additional Issues added
Cumberland News 1897-1915
 District Ledger (Fernie) Various other titles 1893-1919
 Boundary Creek Times (Greenwood) 1896-1911
 Ledge (Greenwood) 1906-1926
 Moyie Leader 1898-1911
 Economist (Nelson) 1897-1906
 Miner (Nelson) 1890 (not 1891)-1898
 Tribune (Nelson) 1892-1902
 Daily Building Record (Vancouver) 1912-1914
Recently added titles
Anaconda News 1901-1905
Coast News (Gibsons)
(Courtesy of Sunshine Coast Museum and Archives)
1945-1977, 1983-1989
Enderby Press & Walker’s Weekly (various other titles) 1909-1921
The Independent (Vancover) 1900-1903
Western Call (Vancouver) 1910-1916
Orchard City Record (Kelowna) 1908-1911
Nicola Valley News (Merritt) 1910-1916
Revelstoke Herald 1897-1905

What’s next?

A pilot project to move the digitized back issues of UBC’s student newspaper, the Ubyssey from its current home to the BC Historical Newspapers portal has been completed. Starting later this year, we will begin adding issues from 1918-2010. Thanks to the support from a very generous donor, we will also begin adding over 100 titles of early community newspapers in 2013-2014. Coming up:

Upcoming additions (subject to change)
Agassiz Record 1923
Armstrong Advance and Spallumcheen Advocate 1905-1906
West Fork News (Beaverdell) 1901
Bennett Sunday 1899-1900
Brooklyn News 1898
Radium (Canford) 1917
Cascade Record 1898-1901
Chase Tribune 1912-1914
Chilliwack Free Press 1911-1912
Fraser Advance (Chilliwack) 1907
Surrey Times (Cloverdale) 1895
Coalmount Courier 1912
Review (Columbia) 1899
Review (Courtenay) 1912-1918
Weekly News (Courtenay) 1892-1896
Cranbrook Herald 1898-1927
Prospector (Cranbrook) 1905-1915
Crofton Gazette & Cowichan News 1902
Islander (Cumberland) 1910-1916
Cumberland Islander 1917-1931
Duncan Enterprise & Vancouver Island Advertiser 1900-1903
Echo (Duncan) 1908-1909
Advance (Fairview) 1894
Lardeau Eagle (Ferguson) 1900-1904
Glenora News 1898
East Kootenay Miner (Golden) 1897-1898
Golden Era 1893-1902
Times (Golden) 1907-1909
Grand Forks Sunday 1914-1920
Evening Sunday (Grand Forks) 1902-1910
Grand Forks Miner 1896-1898
Grand Forks Sun & Kettle Valley Orchardist 1911-1913, 1921-1932
Daily Times (Greenwood) 1900
Greenwood Miner 1899-1901
Omineca Herald (Hazelton) 1908-1912
Omineca Miner (Hazelton) 1911-1918
Hazelton Queek 1880-1881
Hosmer Times 1910
Kamloops Wawa 1901-1917
British Columbia News (Kaslo) 1897-1898
Evening Kootenaian (Kaslo) 1898
Kelowna Record 1912-1920
Keremoeos Chronicle 1908-1909
Delta News (Ladner) 1902-1908
Delta Times (Ladner) 1903-1914
Lillooet Advance 1911
Prospector (Lillooet) 1898-1917
Marysville Tribune 1901-1902
Nicola Herald 1908-1909
Mission City News 1893
Despatch (Morrissey) 1904
Morrrissey Mention 1916-1917
 Morrrissey Miner 1903
Arrow Lake Advocate (Nakusp) 1914
Daily Telegram (Nanaimo) 1893
Nanaimo Courier 1899
Nanaimo Mail 1896
Westward Ho (Nanaimo) 1886
Daily Canadian (Nelson) 1906-1908
Kootenay Liberal (Nelson) 1908
Lowery’s Claim (Nelson) 1901-1906
Nelson Daily Miner 1898-1902
Nelson Weekly Miner 1899
Slocan Mining Review (New Denver) 1906-1908
Slocan Record 1911
Daily News (New Westminster) 1906-1914
New Westminster Times 1859-1961
Pacific Canadian (New Westminster) 1893-1894; 1916-1917
Nicola Herald 1905-1908
Express (North Vancouver) 1905-1912
Okanagan Mining Review 1893
Penticton Press 1907-1909
Nugget (Poplar) 1903-1904
Loyalist (Port Essington) 1908
Port Essington Loyalist 1909
Star (Port Essington) 1908
Sunday (Port Essington) 1907-1908
Port Moody Gazette 1883-1887
North Coast (Port Simpson) 1907-1908
Prince Rupert Journal 1910-1917
Prince Rupert Optimist 1909-1911
Quartz Creek Miner 1897
Queen Charlotte Island 1911-1914
Kootenay Star (Revelstoke) 1890-1894
Mail Herald (Revelstoke) 1906-1917
Evening World (Rossland) 1901-1904
Industrial World (Rossland) 1899-1901
Prospector (Rossland) 1895
Saturday World (Rossland) 1903
Paystreak (Sandon) 1896-1902
Silverton 1898-1901
Slocan Drill 1900-1905
Cassiar News (Stewart) 1919-1926
Slocan Prospector (Kaslo) 1895
Lardeau Mining Review (Trout Lake) 1904-1907
Coast Miner (Van Anda) 1900
BC Labour News (Vancouver) 1921-1922
BC Lumberman (Vancouver) 1904-1905
BC Trades Unionist (Vancouver) 1908-1909
Vancouver Building Record 1911
Greater Vancouver Chinook 1912-1917
Labor Star (Vancouver) 1919
Leader-Advocate (Vancouver) 1923
Mt. Pleasant Advocate (Vancouver) 1904-1907
Red Flag (Vancouver) 1918-1919
Western Clarion (Vancouver) 1904-1924
British Columbia Tribune (Yale) 1866
Ymir Herald 1905
Ymir Miner 1898
Ymir Mirror 1904



Picturesque Victoria, British Columbia

Posted on January 10, 2018 @4:23 pm by Rob

A view of the provincial parliament buildings in Victoria, BC.From the book Picturesque Victoria, British Columbia. These photographic souvenir books were popular with tourism and development organizations from the late 19th and in to the 20th century.

Have a look at the entire book here. Part of the British Columbia Bibliography project.

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