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.”

Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted on October 5, 2017 by liz otero
We hope you enjoy the long weekend, good food, and this tour through parties and Thanksgivings past in our collections: in 1888, the Regina Lodge in Vancouver was charging $4 to attend a Social Ball and Supper: Turkey was the thing by 1913, as Women’s Words of Western Canada encourages a poultry raising cottage industry: […]

In Memoriam

Posted on September 13, 2017 by liz otero
The documents in our collections contain concerns ranging from global to individual. While exploring the collections this week, I was struck by the obituaries, remembrances, and memorials— here is a selection. This Obituary from The Prospector (1896) is front page news, and followed by reports of gold fields in the Kootenays. Mrs. Ellison was remembered […]

Welcome Back!

Posted on September 5, 2017 by liz otero
Welcome back to campus, UBC! Don’t get stressed about moving into your dorm: Moving into the new Women’s Residence, 1956   Remember that there is always a way to solve an interpersonal problem: Photo of unidentified students, 1922 Be grateful that freshman no longer wear these: Freshmen wear dunce caps, 1938 While in lecture, take […]

Gems in Special Projects

Posted on August 24, 2017 by liz otero
The Digitization Centre’s work is housed online in Open Collections, with projects organized into collections. Occasionally, objects are digitized alone or in a small group, and these are placed in Special Projects—our own home for wayward items. Being a bit of a grab-bag, it is one of our favourite places to explore and gain insight […]

What’s Old is New Again

Posted on July 19, 2017 by liz otero
The objects within Open Collections are beautiful, often rare, and allow connection with history as only primary sources can. As your humble blog correspondent, I am consistently struck with how different things were, yet what we are interested in, our concerns, and struggles are the same. This week, let’s see what the past has to […]

Searching Open Collections part 2: Subject keywords

Posted on July 18, 2017 by liz otero
When we last met, we had found a photo of an old growth forest:   Scrolling down on this screen reveals the metadata* attached to the item: I want to continue my search, and so I’m going to look at the area called “Subject”, here listed as Forestry; Logs; Cedar trees. To start out, I’ll […]

Searching Open Collections part 1: Using established collections

Posted on June 29, 2017 by liz otero
This week on the blog, we’ll use Open Collections to search for some images. @VanBigTrees submitted this question on Twitter: Let’s get started! First, we’ll go to Open Collections at From here, we can start a search a few ways. Today, we’ll explore using the collections, and next week, we’ll work with keyword searches. […]

Touring the Nitobe Memorial Garden

Posted on June 14, 2017 by liz otero
Vancouver is greening up spectacularly with the warmer weather. We’re enjoying many lunchtimes in the beautiful gardens here at UBC, and soaking up as much greenery as we possibly can while it’s here! This week on the blog, we’re taking a photo tour through the Nitobe Memorial Garden.  The Nitobe Memorial Garden is on UBC’s […]

The Gold Rush in Open Collections

Posted on June 8, 2017 by liz otero
British Columbia in the second half of the nineteenth century is defined by her gold rushes. Various prospectors, miners, entrepreneurs, and other settlers descended upon BC in waves, and the documents they’ve left behind are as varied as they were. This broadsheet, The Frazer River Thermometer, both offers advice and gently ribs the potential prospector. One of […]

BC Historical Newspapers Update- 2017

Posted on May 25, 2017 by liz otero
      Not surprisingly, we at the Digitization Centre are a big fan of analytics. Data about how people use the data and images we produce? Our knees are weak. What we’ve learned is that our blog post from 2013 regarding the BC Historical Newspapers Collection is one of the most often used, so […]

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