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 January 10, 2018 @11:24 am by Alyssa Hamer
A number of our smaller collections here at UBC Library contain truly interesting and unique content that provides insightful historical perspective on early British Columbian history. Today we’re highlighting one such example: the Archibald Murchie Collection is made up of more than 50 photographs taken in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s by “B.C.’s Evangelist photographer”.
These photographs feature imagery from the Cariboo and Similkameen regions of the province, highlighting the infrastructure projects and development in these areas by early settlers. Bridge, dam and railroad construction projects figure prominently, as do landscape shots of the growing cities, scenes of crews at work, and local First Nations peoples.
Archibald Murchie (1852-1930) was a Scottish immigrant and evangelist minister for the Spiritualist Church, an off-shoot of the Church of England. In the late 1800’s he decided to preach as a missionary in B.C.’s interior, and around the same time was hired to photograph the construction of a bridge over the Fraser River at Sheep Creek. As construction proved to be fairly slow, Murchie took the opportunity to travel to surrounding regions and photograph the growing towns and cities that were sprouting up. After a failed attempt at leading his own parish in Princeton, B.C., Murchie set up a photography studio in Ashcroft, B.C., eventually marrying and relocating to the Okanagan Valley.
At his death in 1930, Murchie’s widow remarried and destroyed all of his photographic equipment. It was only by chance that, in 1948, several glass plate negatives were recovered from a chicken house under repair. Another interesting fact: Archibald’s brother was the founder of the now well-known local company, Murchie’s Tea & Coffee.
This collection is housed at UBC Okanagan Library’s Special Collections and Archives, and is a part of the Doug and Joyce Cox Research Collection. To view more images from the Archibald Murchie collection, click here!No Comments
Posted on December 13, 2016 @2:36 pm by Alyssa Hamer
It’s Open Access Week 2016, a chance to celebrate practices that promote Open Access, Open Data and Open Education. This year’s theme is “Open in Action”, an opportunity to highlight key activities that the academic and scholarly community is taking to support and expand open access initiatives.
Here at the Digitization Centre we are proud to value the principles of openness, and are always looking into ways we can improve our participation and expand our contribution. To celebrate Open Access Week 2016, we’ve released the Digitization Centre’s 2015/2016 Impact Report! In this latest assessment, you can learn about all of the interesting projects we’ve been working on over the past 12 months, and some of the great content that has been digitized.
The report highlights the exciting launch of our online digital portal Open Collections in October 2015, and includes statistics on the number of unique site visits to the portal, as well as our most popular collections.
Here are some interesting facts detailed in the report:
- Open Collections has had over 1 million visitors in its first 12 months!
- The Digitization Centre has had partnerships with both the Department of Near Eastern and Classical Studies, as well as the CiTR Student Radio Society, to complete digitization projects.
- Staff at the digitization Centre have been working on a project to capture ephemeral online content related to B.C. and UBC through the web archiving tool, Archive-It.
To learn more about what we’ve been up to this past year, check out our Impact Report under “Reports” in our website’s Documentation section. And to learn more about how you can participate in Open Access Week 2016, click here.No Comments
Posted on January 10, 2018 @11:41 am by Alyssa Hamer
The Berkeley Poster Collection, housed at the UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections, contains 250 posters created between 1968 to 1973 which document the advocacy and activism of student groups during the Vietnam War era. These posters attest to the tense political climate present in the United States and South East Asia during that time and the efforts of underground and guerilla groups to tap into the social conscience, pressing for greater awareness and public concern regarding the Vietnam War.
At the Digitization Centre we frequently revisit and assess the quality of our digitized collections. As time passes our capacity to produce higher-quality digital images often improves due to newer equipment or scanning techniques. In the case of the Berkeley Poster Collection the images currently available through Open Collections were originally scanned in 2009. It is therefore not surprising that our facilities and equipment have changed so significantly that we’re now revisiting this collection to improve upon the current digital images we have!
Additionally, a large number of the posters were printed on discarded computer paper which was repurposed for the posters. A significant portion of these pages have computer code and data on the verso of the poster images – information which was not included in the original digital images but which has now been deemed important enough to include in this new round of scans. This type of “ephemera” not only offers insight into the type of work that early computers were doing at Berkeley in the sixties and seventies but also provides contextual information which situates this collection in a very specific time and location.
Sometimes it can be a challenge to assess all of the possible “values” that a historical item may have which is why it is so important to revisit and reassess digitized collections over time.1 Comment
Posted on January 12, 2018 @4:07 pm by Alyssa Hamer
Go, sit upon the lofty hill,
And turn your eyes around,
Where waving woods and waters wild
Do hymn an autumn sound.
The summer sun is faint on them —
The summer flowers depart —
Sit still — as all transform’d to stone,
Except your musing heart.
How there you sat in summer-time,
May yet be in your mind;
And how you heard the green woods sing
Beneath the freshening wind.
Though the same wind now blows around,
You would its blast recall;
For every breath that stirs the trees,
Doth cause a leaf to fall.
Excerpt from “The Autumn” (1833) by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
There is an unmistakable feeling of fall in the air around UBC campus – the leaves are changing colour, the days are slowly becoming shorter and cooler, and talk about Hallowe’en costumes and parties is in full swing! To mark the season, enjoy the fall-themed images below selected from across Open Collections’ holdings – and be sure to click on any of the pictures for more information.No Comments
Posted on November 2, 2016 @11:03 am by Alyssa Hamer
“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”
William Arthur Ward
World Teachers’ Day is celebrated annually on October 5 to recognize the important work that educators do every day around the world. For those of us lucky enough to have had remarkable teachers in our lives, it’s also a chance to reflect on the impact these important figures had on our personal and professional development, from kindergarten to college, and even beyond.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization(UNESCO) has indicated that teachers “are the single most influential and powerful force for equity, access and equality in education,” and that worldwide there is a shortage of well trained teachers. (UNESCO)
Enjoy some of our favourite photos of teachers and their students from Open Collections, and take some time today to show your appreciation for an educator in your life.
Click on any of the images below for more information!
Posted on January 10, 2018 @11:53 am by Alyssa Hamer
The Fisherman Publishing Society formed in 1937 in order to publish The Fisherman, a newspaper that was jointly sponsored by the Salmon Purse Seiners Union and the Pacific Coast Fishermen’s Union. The newspaper highlighted industry and union events and promoted unity among fishermen along the West Coast.
As one of the founding industries which led to the development and growth of British Columbia’s towns and cities, fishing and fisheries have historically played a large part in the lives of many people living on the West Coast, and continue to this day. Although the industry has seen its share of highs and lows, the photographs in this collection feature some of the incredible hauls that were captured, the vessels that were once so common to our shores, and the many people from diverse backgrounds involved, including First Nations, Chinese and Japanese peoples, Indo-Canadians and Europeans.
Enjoy the unique photos from this bygone era, and be sure to enjoy the full Fisherman Publishing Society collection at Open Collections!No Comments
Posted on January 10, 2018 @11:44 am by Alyssa Hamer
UBC’s Rare Books and Special Collections houses a number of rare materials relating to the logging and forestry industry in Vancouver and its surrounding regions. One such collection is that of the Capilano Timber Company, which operated on the North Shore for a fifteen-year period between 1915 and 1930.
In 1917, the American owned company began to aggressively log the watershed – the demand for high-quality lumber to construct aeroplanes during World War I meant the company received a high return on their investment. Given the steep terrain and narrow valleys on the North Shore, Capilano Timber Co. was forced to build a logging railway in order to get the timber to tidewater. By February 1919, 12.8km of track led in to the Capilano valley. Timber bridges were also necessary to move people and materials along the valley – the most impressive being the Houlgate trestle, which reached a height of 27 metres and spanned a length of 120 metres.
At its peak, the Capilano Timber Co. employed 250 men cutting over 150,000 feet per day. Their living quarters were considered “civilization in the bush”: they had indoor taps running hot water, showers, and dining cars that served bacon, eggs and hotcakes for breakfast, and steaks, stews and pies for dinner. The company even invested in constructing houses for married couples, in order to attract a stable permanent workforce – although it’s not clear how successful this experiment was.
In 1925, the Capilano Timber Co. sold unmanufactured logs to local mills; however, by 1926 they had completed their own mill, and began to process thousands of feet of cedar, hemlock and fir. Just when operations were expanding rapidly and profits were at their peak, the 1929 economic depression hit and the Capilano mill was forced to close down.
In its fifteen years of operation, the company harvested approximately 400,000,000 feet of timber, laid 80 kilometers of railway tracks, and spent $9,000,000 on wages and equipment. The company also left in its wake clear-cut and barren forests which were prone to washouts and forest fires for decades after the company’s operations ceased. In the intervening years many conservationists and local governments have attempted to rehabilitate the Capilano watershed region, and today it’s a source of much of Vancouver’s potable household water. If you would like to learn more about the Capilano Timber Company, take a look at Anna Gabrielle Kahrer’s 1988 MA thesis paper titled Logging and landscape change on the north shore of Burrard Inlet, British Columbia, 1860’s to 1930’s in UBC’s scholarly repository, cIRcle. And be sure to check out the full collection of photographs in Open Collections!No Comments
Posted on January 10, 2018 @12:27 pm by Alyssa Hamer
UBC’s Rare Books and Special Collections houses a selection of over 3,000 wartime images by the British Press. These photographs were approved by the British government during World War I and were distributed to overseas diplomats to be used in official projects. They depict the everyday drudgery, but also the humour and energy, of the soldiers and military personnel on the ground, as well as of those on the home front. It is an eclectic mix of images, and provides a multifaceted view of life during the Great War.
The University acquired these photographs in the 1930’s through the British Consulate in Seattle. Originals of these print copies, as well as thousands of other images, are available through Britain’s Imperial War Museum.
For a Canadian perspective on World War I, the Canadian War Museum has an online exhibition on Canada’s involvement and contribution to the First World War.
Click on any of the images below for more information.No Comments
Posted on September 14, 2016 @11:54 am by Alyssa Hamer
It’s that time of year again – fall is just around the corner, and a new school year has begun. Whether you’re new to the UBC campus community, returning for another semester, or graduated long ago, it can be an exciting and even nostalgic time. Returning to school for a new year can be a rite of passage as we grow up, and many of our fondest memories and closest friendships can form in places of learning.
We’ve searched Open Collections to find the best back-to-school images – enjoy the photographs below, and click on any of them for more information.