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!  

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How Are Collections Made?

Posted on May 8, 2018 by Paula Arasaki
While browsing through our digital collections, you might start wondering how all of these items originally came together. Every collection has its own unique story, and we’ve chosen to highlight two such stories in this week’s post. Maybe it will motivate you to start your own collection!   Chung Collection The Chung Collection currently has […]

Typography in early printed books

Posted on May 1, 2018 by Paula Arasaki
We here at the Digitization Centre were wondering: “What can I learn from the Early printed books and Western manuscripts”? We found the answer: “A lot of things.” This time, we chose to discuss what we found out about the history of typography. The earliest printed books were produced to be similar to handwritten manuscripts […]

Explore Open Collections: Harry Hawthorn Fly Fishing & Angling Collection

Posted on April 24, 2018 by Paula Arasaki
The Harry Hawthorn collection contains more than 2,200 books about fly-fishing and angling, including rare and valuable items from the 1700s to the 1970s. Harry Hawthorn was a UBC professor in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology, and even though the collection carries his name, he was not the only one responsible for collecting the […]

Utagaruta: a poetry game

Posted on April 17, 2018 by Paula Arasaki
Our One Hundred Poets Collection contains 20 different card sets of the utagaruta (uta = poem; karuta = card), a variation of the Japanese game called “Karuta” (which originated from “Carta,” the Portuguese name for “Card”). The Utagaruta is a poetry game, that exercises your reflexes and memory. The karuta is a combination of two […]

Chung Collection Menus: A Flavour Throwback

Posted on April 10, 2018 by Paula Arasaki
Restaurant and hotel menus are windows to the past. When looking at old menus, you can learn about what kinds of foods people used to prefer, what kinds of produce was available, what was considered to be an elaborate dish, and how much people used to pay for food. The Chung Collection contains hundreds of […]


Posted on April 3, 2018 by Paula Arasaki
Pixelating: A Digital Humanities Mixer is a program facilitated by Susan Atkey, Larissa Ringham and Allan Cho, at the University of British Columbia (UBC). The program is a forum for discussion to develop UBC Library-based digital humanities projects. Digital humanities is an emerging area, which combines technologies and digital tools with the objects and methods […]

Surgery in 16th century

Posted on March 26, 2018 by Paula Arasaki
Jherome of Bruyinswike (also known as Jerome of Brunswick or Hieronymus Bruncschwig or Jerome von Braunschweig), was born around 1450 in Strasburg, Germany. He was a surgeon, alchemist, and botanist, responsible for the publication of the first illustrated book on surgery in English. Brunswick was an apprentice to a master surgeon and had success in […]

Infant Feeding Devices in the History of Nursing in Pacific Canada Collection

Posted on March 20, 2018 by Paula Arasaki
Collections stand out for different reasons. The History of Nursing in Pacific Canada Collection contains many unique items, including materials from the Ethel Johns Fonds and local material (BC and Yukon) held at UBC Library. It further contains what is known as the Infant Feeders Collection, held in the Memorial Room of the Woodward Biomedical […]

Graphic art in the Chung Collection

Posted on March 13, 2018 by Paula Arasaki
If you take a look at the Canadian Pacific Railway Company posters in our Chung Collection, you’ll be amazed by all of the wonderful paintings depicting early and mid 20th-century travel in Canada. These promotional posters were created to attract tourists to the many trains, hotels, world cruises, Canadian tours, and airplanes owned by Canadian […]

Looking back on seven years at the UBC Digitization Centre

Posted on March 6, 2018 by Paula Arasaki
The UBC Library Digitization Centre is celebrating another birthday: seven years! In many cultures and religions, seven is a special—and sometimes lucky—number. There are seven continents, seven seas, seven classic world wonders, and seven colors in the rainbow. For everyone at the Digitization Centre, seven years also marks many proud milestones. Over 50 collections Over […]

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