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.

Collaboration with the UBC Preservation Unit

Posted on January 26, 2023 by Marina de Souza
Team members in the Digitization Centre (DC) have an understanding and shared responsibility for the care and handling of the collections. To ensure that we are equipped with the right knowledge to handle fragile objects during digitization projects, DC has an ongoing collaboration with the UBC Preservation Unit. Experts from the Unit provide training to […]

Exploring Open Collections: The H. Colin Slim Stravinsky Collection

Posted on January 17, 2023 by Marina de Souza
Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) was a Russian-born composer who became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1945 and had a revolutionary impact on 20th-century music. He wrote important scores that redefined music, breaking new ground. His ballets such as The Firebird, Petrushka, and The Rite of Spring are landmarks of classical music composition. Stravinsky’s trip to Vancouver […]

Legends of UBC – Part Two

Posted on December 21, 2022 by Lisa Wilson Palmour
Continuing from our previous post Legends of BC – Part One, we are back with 10 more inspiring and accomplished individuals affiliated with UBC. This list was compiled using Open Collections to research alumni, staff, faculty and honorary degree recipients to bring forward amazing people from across different disciplines. In alphabetical order according to first […]

Legends of UBC – Part One

Posted on December 13, 2022 by Lisa Wilson Palmour
Over the decades, many legendary figures have been affiliated with the University of British Columbia. Whether alumni, staff, faculty or honorary degree recipients, the greats who have graced this University have done remarkable things in their respective fields. To close out the year, we thought it would be inspiring to celebrate some of these individuals. […]

New Material in Open Collections: Fragments of Medieval Manuscripts

Posted on December 6, 2022 by Lisa Wilson Palmour
Open Collections recently saw some new additions to the Western Manuscripts and Early Printed Books repository — a selection of medieval era manuscript fragments. These digital copies are from two different physical collections stored in UBC’s Rare Books and Special Collections. One collection is comprised of medieval manuscript fragments and the other, medieval music manuscript fragments. […]

Leonard Frank’s Photography and the Early Days of UBC

Posted on November 29, 2022 by Lisa Wilson Palmour
Leonard Frank (1870-1944) was a German Jewish photographer best known for his photographs documenting occupational lifeways in British Columbia. UBC’s Open Collections holds over 400 photographs created by Frank. They span across a few different collections including the MacMillan Bloedel Limited fonds, the Capilano Timber Company fonds, the Uno Langmann Family Collection, and the UBC […]

Illustrations in the Historical Children’s Literature Collection

Posted on November 22, 2022 by Lisa Wilson Palmour
The Historical Children’s Literature Collection is a digital repository of 85 items from UBC’s Rare Books and Special Collections. Publication dates range from the 1790s to 1890s, and include fairy tales, educational books, classic literature, religious texts, fortune-tellers, nursery rhymes, and more. The collection gives us an idea of topics and stories that were popular […]

New Collection: Images of Natural History Specimens from the Beaty Biodiversity Museum

Posted on November 15, 2022 by Lisa Wilson Palmour
When the Beaty Biodiversity Museum approached us about digitizing a collection of natural history images, we couldn’t possibly say no. This new digital repository of 848 natural history images was completed in September and is now available to view on Open Collections. The collection includes an array of insect and fish illustrations, as well as […]

Celebrating the Legacy of E. Pauline Johnson – Tekahionwake

Posted on November 8, 2022 by Lisa Wilson Palmour
If you’re looking for some autumn reading, we suggest delving into the books of legendary poet E. Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake) (1861-1913). There are dozens of items connected to Johnson in Open Collections; four are digitized copies of her written works, and several more are ephemera connected to her life and legacy. Johnson was a mixed […]

COVID-19 Web Archiving Collections

Posted on November 1, 2022 by Larissa Ringham
This is part of a series on web archiving at the UBC Library. For all posts about web archiving, please see Since early 2020 the UBC Library has embarked on a project to collect and preserve web content related to the unique local events and impacts surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. From the updates of […]

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