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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 view in Open Collections.


Canadian Pacific Railway hotels in B.C.: Part 1

Posted on January 22, 2019 by Kelly Stathis
This two-part series features some of the earliest Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) hotels in British Columbia. Many of these hotels have since closed down but formed an important part of early Canadian railway history. In previous blog posts, we profiled the two largest surviving CPR hotels in B.C.: Hotel Vancouver and the Empress Hotel. Mount […]


Explore Open Collections: Uno Langmann British Columbia Postcards

Posted on January 15, 2019 by Kelly Stathis
The Uno Langmann Family Collection of British Columbia Photographs contains postcards, family photo albums, and ephemera from the 1850s through the 1970s. The collection of over 18,000 photographs was donated to UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections by Uno and Dianne Langmann. A portion of these photographs have been digitized and are accessible through […]


Fauna boreali-americana

Posted on January 8, 2019 by Kelly Stathis
In the early 19th century, the Scottish naturalist and explorer John Richardson traveled with Sir William Franklin in search of the Northwest Passage. He recorded the scientific findings of these expeditions in two works: Flora boreali-americana (1833-1840) and Fauna boreali-americana (1829-1837). The latter is a four-volume text about the animals of North America and the […]


Explore Open Collections: PRISM international

Posted on January 1, 2019 by Kelly Stathis
Established in 1959 and published quarterly, PRISM international is the oldest literary magazine in Western Canada. Through a partnership with the UBC Creative Writing Department, UBC Library digitized all back-issues of PRISM in 2015. The full archive is available in Open Collections. All issues are available with a one-year embargo ­– so, consider subscribing to […]


Happy Holidays from the Digitization Centre!

Posted on December 25, 2018 by Kelly Stathis
In the spirit of the holiday season, enjoy these wintery images from Open Collections. Check out these beautiful photographs of a snowy UBC campus, from the UBC Archives Photograph collection:   From the Chung Collection, this 1928 Canadian Pacific Railway Company menu advertises various winter sports in Banff:   Also, check out this ski holidays […]


The Empress Hotel

Posted on December 18, 2018 by Kelly Stathis
The iconic Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia, is prominently featured in the Chung Collection. The Empress Hotel was designed by architect Francis Rattenbury in the “Chateau style” (also known as the Châteauesque style). This was an architectural style based on French Renaissance architecture common to many of the grand railway hotels. Because the Empress […]


Discorder in December: winter concerts in Vancouver

Posted on December 11, 2018 by Kelly Stathis
UBC Library’s Open Collections has made available the entire run of Discorder, the magazine of CiTR 109.1 FM. Issues date back to 1983 and include articles, album and concert reviews, interviews, radio show lists, advertisements, comics, and more. New issues continue to be added to Open Collections. We were curious about shows in Vancouver throughout the […]


John Latham’s birds

Posted on December 4, 2018 by Kelly Stathis
John Latham (1740-1837) was an English doctor and naturalist, famous for his work in ornithology. He was particularly known for his study of Australian birds, brought to England and observed on James Cook’s colonial expeditions. Latham published A general synopsis of birds over the years 1781-1785, with supplements published in 1787 and 1801. A general […]


Exploring The Herball in UBC Library’s Open Collections

Posted on November 27, 2018 by Kelly Stathis
A herbal is part of a genre of books that features lists of plants with accompanying descriptions of their properties. John Gerard’s The herball, or, Generall historie of plants (1597) is a quintessential 16th century example. The text drew from earlier herbals: it was commissioned as an English translation of a Dutch herbal, Rembert Dodoens’ […]


Hotel Vancouver

Posted on November 20, 2018 by Kelly Stathis
Did you know that there were actually three incarnations of the Hotel Vancouver? One of Canada’s grand railway hotels, Hotel Vancouver has a rich history beginning with its initial construction in 1888. This post uses images and publications from the Chung Collection to trace its history, from the first Hotel Vancouver to its present-day incarnation […]


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