Douglas Coupland fonds

Internationally renowned author and artist Douglas Coupland has recently added twenty-six pieces to his already substantial personal archives at UBC Library.

Coupland’s archives, donated to UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections in 2010, include more than 1425 photographs and 30 metres of textual and graphic material. The recent additions include a varied range of medium – everything from large-scale sculptures to screenplays. 

Three student workers, tasked with processing the recent additions, are blogging about their progress to highlight the unique challenges mixed media can present for archives.

“Influenced by Coupland’s own fondness for the blog format, we will chronicle our journey here. Follow our progress as we unpack the work of the prolific writer and artist.”

Several blog posts have been published – which include photos of the material being processed. To read about the project and follow its progress, visit the “New at Rare Books and Special Collections” blog. 

The blog has gathered some media attention, including a recent article in Quill and Quire entitled “Behind the scenes at UBC’s Douglas Coupland archives,” and a piece in the Ubyssey entitled “Douglas Coupland article finds home in Irving K. Barber.”

About Douglas Coupland

Coupland’s first-ever article about “Generation X,” defined as the generation of people born – after the baby boomers – in the 1960s and 1970s, was published Vancouver in September 1987. Generation X was later published as a novel, which Coupland followed with seventeen major literary works. Coupland also has written and produced for film and television projects, and has continued exhibiting as a visual artist.

The UBC Library, in collaboration with UBC’s Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology (CTLT) and the Faculty of Graduate Studies (FOGS), will be offering some new services in the Koerner Library Research Commons.

One service will include an Interdisciplinary Research Exchange (a service designed to connect graduate students across campus and facilitate discussion of shared research interests).

Another service will be the Thesis/Citation Formatting Support service.  This service will provide workshops and specialized assistance to students who need assistance with Master’s and PhD theses formatting.

These two new services were provided through the UBC Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund (TLEF) grant for 2012/13. Look for these services at the Koerner Library Research Commons Help Desk on level 2 beginning in September 2012.

To learn more about this initiative, please contact Trish Rosseel, Interim Head, Humanities & Social Sciences Division, at trish.rosseel(at)

To arrange an appointment, send an email to

Did You Know?

The Library also provides various undergraduate and graduate workshops which extend from Humanities & Social Sciences to the Applied Sciences and much more throughout the year. To find out which upcoming workshops would be most helpful to you and your research, visit the Library’s instructional event site at: You will also find cIRcle event workshops on how to get your research published or disseminated in an open access repository.

Above image is courtesy of the UBC Library’s Photostream on Flickr


Jul 27

Reduced opening hours July 30 - Aug 31

Rare Books and Special Collections, which includes the Chung Collection exhibition room, is temporarily reducing its opening hours to 10 am to 4 pm, for the period July 30 to August 31.

We apologize for any inconvenience this might cause. Please feel free to email us at with any questions or concerns.

Starting tomorrow, links for the China Online Journals will all point to the WanFang Data Periodicals search page. This will mean the journal title will have to be searched a second time from there, but at least the links will work.

Apologies for the extra step, but it is a work-around that works, as opposed to the current links which do not.

You may also want to bookmark this Advanced Search Page as it could make finding articles (when you have the citation) easier to find than searching just the journal title or browsing.

read more

You may have noticed a new look at UBC Library. This week we unveiled a new homepage, featuring redesigned sections of its site, including the Research Help and Use the Library portals.

The redesign was the result of a lengthy effort from Library Systems and Information Technology (LSIT). Paul Joseph, Systems Librarian, says the project has been underway since he first came to UBC in 2009. “I made it part of my mission to tackle our rather large and complex site through incremental change and improvements rather than a wholesale makeover and redesign. This has allowed us to be experimental, nimble and responsive to not only user needs and expectations, but also our approach to web design.” 

Over the past year, Joseph and LSIT have launched several new portals, including SearchHours and Locations, and the newly revamped Get Research Help and Use the Library portals.

In April, LSIT, along with the Library’s Web Services Working Group, opened a Library homepage survey for members of the UBC community (students, faculty, staff, alumni, and those with an affiliation to the University). The survey encouraged feedback on the existing layout and offered opportunities for constructive criticism.

In addition, several one-on-one sessions with faculty, focus groups (including students), and regular user testing offered continuous feedback and improvements for the proposed designs. More than 120 users were consulted and tested and the resulting data directly impacted the design of the homepage. “The best way we can serve our users is to design and develop iteratively in response to their feedback and experiences during testing,” says Joseph.

SLAIS student Jonathan Schatz, who worked on the project over the summer as part of his co-op internship, said a highlight of the usability testing was “watching small changes cascade into largely improved interactions.”

Search Box on the homepage

Key features 

The new site reintroduces drop-down navigational menus, and a highly improved search box, which offers tips for users to help improve their search method. The “breadcrumbs” feature, which offers users a visual trail of where they have been, is being implemented across the entire Library site.

In addition to a site-wide content clean up, the homepage “clutter” has been reduced due to an overwhelming response from users that the old homepage was too crowded. A new “Login” button on the main menu allows users to login quickly and access their Library Account (to renew books online, check document delivery and more), EZproxy or Refworks. 

“The homepage reflects the outcome of a process involving widespread user consultation, feedback collection, data analysis, and usability testing,” says Joseph. It also offers a value proposition, or a statement used to describe the site’s purpose. “Our statement ‘Find the best [source] for your research’ functions as a great enticement for first-time users of the Library’s site, and a reminder for return visitors of the value UBC Library brings to its users.”

Check out some of the comments and reactions to the new design on social media.

Next steps

Now that the new site has launched, LSIT is busy updating other sections of the site, including the About Us and Contact Us sections. Joseph says there are many more great things to come as the Library works to “constantly improve our web services.”

In the meantime, we value your input. Please provide your comments via the “Feedback” button on the homepage. 

Rare Books and Special Collections service desk

Beginning next week, UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC) and University Archives will have reduced hours.

Effective July 30 to August 31, RBSC and University Archives, on the first floor of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre (IKBLC), will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday. This includes the Chung Collection exhibition, the special collections reading room (Rm 110) and seminar room (Rm 112), as well as the University Archives (Rm 118).

For questions regarding accessibility, please contact RBSC or University Archives

Congratulations to all students that were awarded the Canadian Mineral Industry Education Fund Scholarships!

Opening hours will be reduced at the University Archives, as well as at Rare Books and Special Collections, effective 30 July 2012. Until 31 August, the Archives will be open to the public 10am-4pm, Monday-Friday.

Please contact University Archivist Chris Hives with any concerns about University Archives accessibility.

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