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.

Historic Hotels around the World

Posted on December 6, 2021 by Kin Man Leung
The holiday season is upon us, and it is time to celebrate. If you’re considering a staycation, you should check out our previous blog posts: Hotel Vancouver and the Empress Hotel, two largest surviving Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) hotels with more than 100 years of history in B.C. This post uses images from The Chung […]

Textual Records of World Wars

Posted on November 11, 2021 by Kin Man Leung
Today is Remembrance Day, originally called Armistice Day. In memory of those who served during the wars, we are sharing the written records relating to World War I and World War II from the Open Collections.   Book This record from the BC Historical Books collection mentions the history of H.M.C.S. Naden naval barracks from […]

Sports in Open Collections: Part II

Posted on November 1, 2021 by Kin Man Leung
In this two-part series, we compiled images of various sports from our Open Collections. You can view Part I here. For Part II, we explored both competitive and recreational sports from the UBC Archives Photograph Collection.   Archery This photograph captures the moment the archers were ready to release their arrows. Women’s archery team, 1939-01-01 […]

Sports in Open Collections: Part I

Posted on October 25, 2021 by Kin Man Leung
Whether you’re a professional athlete, sports lover, or non-sports fan, we would agree that sports bring us together. In this two-part series, we gathered historical images related to different kinds of sports from our Open Collections, hoping to provide you with some amazing sports moments.   Croquet The Tremaine Arkley Croquet Collection contains the following […]

The Digitization Centre Impact Report 2020-2021

Posted on October 7, 2021 by Kin Man Leung
The Digitization Centre is celebrating its 10th anniversary and the end of an unprecedented year by publishing this report. It highlights our key activities of the Digitization Centre over the past year and since March 2011 including: COVID-19 impact, partnership network, collections, software enhancements and upgrades, and user engagement statistics. Our Response to COVID-19: In […]

Expanding the BC Historical Newspapers Collection: Reflections on my Co-op Work Term

Posted on September 30, 2021 by Laura Moberg
This blog post was written by Laura Moberg, a graduate student in the Dual Master of Archival Studies and Master of Library and Information Studies program at the UBC School of Information. From May to August 2021, I worked as a co-op student with UBC Library Digital Initiatives. As the Digital Projects Student Librarian, I researched […]

Expanding the “COVID-19 Pandemic and the University of British Columbia” Web Archive

Posted on July 27, 2021 by Sarah Gallagher
The following is part of a series on web archiving at the UBC Library. This post was written by Sarah Gallagher, a graduate student in the Master of Library and Information Science program at UBC’s iSchool. For all posts about web archiving, please see From January through April 2021, I worked with the Digitization […]

New item on Open Collections: A Recollection of my Indian Career

Posted on June 28, 2021 by stuart hill
A new item is now available on Open Collections in our UBC Library Digitization Centre Special Projects. “Recollections of my Indian Career” is an autobiographical account of Lieutenant-General John Matthew Cripps’ experiences serving in the British Indian Army from the mid to late nineteenth century. During the course of his service he was personally involved […]

5 titles from Chinese Rare Books

Posted on May 25, 2021 by stuart hill
One of the most common assumptions about digitization is that entire collections can be scanned without prioritization. Collection assessment and evaluation is essential before proceeding with any project. In the case of Chinese rare books, as more and more volumes are scanned and made accessible online, it is important to evaluate proposed digitization projects to […]

New Item on Open Collections: House book of the wife of Archibald McDonald, Chief Factor, Hudson’s Bay Company, Fort Qu’Apelle

Posted on April 13, 2021 by stuart hill
Recently, in response to a patron request, a new item became available on UBC Open Collections: UBC Library Digitization Centre Special Projects. “House book of the wife of Archibald McDonald, Chief Factor, Hudson’s Bay Company, Fort Qu’Apelle” was stored on a microfilm reel at UBC Rare Books and Special Collections. Initially, the microfilm proved difficult […]

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