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.


Women at work during WWI.

Posted on Jun 27, 2023 by Gage
World War One is known for the apocalyptic destruction brought to Europe, North Africa, and the Near East brought by the clashing of Allied and Central powers. A large part of this was the emergence of the horrifying brutality of trench warfare and the weapon developments of such systems as airplanes, howitzers, and early tanks. […]


The Trinkets, Kitchenware, and Knickknacks of the Wallace B. Chung and Madeline H. Chung Collection.

Posted on Jun 20, 2023 by Gage
The Wallace B. Chung and Madeline H. Chung Collection in UBC’s Open Collections is home to many different objects from the early and mid-twentieth century. Many of these items are related to the Canadian Pacific Company and are from the steam ships, hotels, trains, and planes that took many passengers all over Canada and beyond. […]


Jell-o: the culinary curiosities of the twentieth century.

Posted on Jun 13, 2023 by Gage
Jell-o is an affordable dessert that has been enjoyed in Canada and the United States since its creation in the early 1900s. Throughout the years many people have tried experimenting with Jell-o to see what tasty creations they could come up with. This was especially true during the 1940s when many people were trying to […]


Early cartographic misconceptions of Western North America: The island of California and the Sea of the West

Posted on Jun 06, 2023 by Gage
While browsing through the older maps in the Andrew McCormick Maps and Prints collection, or some of the maps of the Americas in the Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era collection, you may notice a couple of strange errors. The first of which is that California, through the late 17th and mid 18th centuries, was […]


Cats and Dogs of the Uno Langmann Family Collection

Posted on May 30, 2023 by Gage
The Uno Langmann Family Collection of British Columbia Photographs has over six thousand images that are currently available online. They represent various aspects of B.C.’s social and cultural history during the 19th and 20th centuries. With all of the scary news that goes on in the world, why not take a moment to browse images […]


House Styles

Posted on May 24, 2023 by Gage
Many times, when we at the Digitization Centre are attempting to provide a date range for an image, we often rely on using details from within the image to make an estimate. One of the easier and more reliable details to watch out for are homes. The design of a house allows us to pattern […]


Food Prices of the 1900s in British Columbia

Posted on May 16, 2023 by Gage
With recent skyrocketing food prices, many people find themselves reminiscing of the grocery shopping of yesteryear. The BC Historical Newspaper collection provides many great snapshots of grocery store advertisements throughout the 1900s. Here is a collated selection of various newspapers advertising from around British Columbia. One advertisement was chosen for each decade, and multiple newspapers […]


UBC Library’s Colour our Collections Project

Posted on May 02, 2023 by Marina de Souza
As part of a project to bring the public closer to UBC’s digital and physical collections, UBC Library has joined the Colour Our Collections campaign along with other museums and libraries around the world. Organized by The New York Academy of Medicine, the Colour our Collections project first took off in 2016 to offer a unique way […]


An insight into the digitization of The Shakespeare First Folio Collection

Posted on Apr 25, 2023 by Marina de Souza
This week, as a celebration of William Shakespeare’s birthday (April 23, 1564), the Digitization Centre would like to share some of the experiences of digitizing one of the extremely rare books in the UBC Library’s collections: the first edition of “William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies” published in 1623. We asked one of our graduate students, Natalia […]


Explore Open Collections: French Revolution Collection

Posted on Apr 11, 2023 by Marina de Souza
The Digitization Centre would like to share some exciting news: a rare collection of original pamphlets from the French Revolution is now available on the UBC Open Collections! Total of 114 items were digitized from the UBC Library’s French Revolution Collection which includes pamphlets, plays and documents from between 1787 and 1799, a period of […]


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