Dec 20

Featured photo: 97 lb Christmas cake

In last December's featured photo, we showed an elaborate Christmas dinner being served on the Empress of Australia. This December, we found another culinary feat on the high seas:

Chef showing large Christmas cake

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Webcast sponsored by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre and hosted by SLAIS. When seeking information, either within a document or in a large collection of materials, the contexts of collaboration and place have a strong influence on user performance. While those studying human behaviour have noted these factors, there is at present only a limited understanding of how to provide features that exploit these contexts in computer-based information discovery systems. In this seminar, Dr. Buchanan will report on a series of projects that have uncovered how each factor can be leveraged in new interactions between people and technology, and indicate how the interplay between social and location contexts can provide opportunities neither can on their own. George Buchanan is a Reader in the Centre for Human-Computer Interaction Design at City University London. His main areas of research encompass information seeking and mobile technologies. His work has received a series of best-paper awards, and he is currently Research Chair of the British Computer Society Special Interest Group (SIG) on Interaction.

Select Articles Available at UBC

Buchanan, George. (2010). The Usability of digital Documents – A Barrier to Digital Scholarship. International Journal of Humanities and Arts Computing. 4(1-2). pp. 125 – 139. [Link]

Buchanan, George. (2010). The Fused Library: Integrating Digital and Physical Libraries With Location-Aware Sensors. Proceedings of the 10th Annual Joint Conference on Digital Libraries. JCDL ’10. pp. 273-282. [Link]

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at the Robson Reading Series

Thursday, January 24, 2013, 7pm

UBC Bookstore at Robson Square

Robson Reading Series events are free and open to the public but registration is recommended. To register for this event, please click here.

“In giving us her rage, humour and fallibility, Devaney has perfectly highlighted our cultural fear of frankly discussing the reality of illness.” – The National Post

Julie Devaney is a patient-expert based in Toronto. She is the author and performer of the critically acclaimed show, educational workshop series, and book, My Leaky Body (Goose Lane Editions, September 2012). According to the National Post, “While this memoir is an uncompromisingly detailed account of one woman’s medical experiences, it acts as a sort of Everyman tome, a handbook on the rights of the patient to dictate their own path to wellness.” Devaney was named a Woman Health Hero by Best Health Magazine in 2011 and has been profiled on CBC Radio’s White Coat, Black Art and The Current, Chatelaine and the Toronto Star. Her writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail, Toronto Life and numerous anthologies. Find her on Twitter: @juliedevaney

Her weakest moment spawned a crusade for change. Julie Devaney takes us on a journey through the health care system as she is diagnosed and treated for ulcerative colitis. In and out of emergency rooms in Vancouver and Toronto, she’s poked, prodded, and abandoned to a closet at one point, bearing the helplessness and indignities of a system that seems hell-bent on victimizing the sick.

Raw, harrowing, and darkly funny, Julie Devaney argues convincingly for fixes to the system and better training for all medical personnel. As she recovers, she sets out to do just that: setting up a gurney on stage at workshops and conferences across the country to teach Bedside Manners 101 and to advocate for repairs to the system.

Part memoir, part love story, part revolutionary manifesto, My Leaky Body is politically astute, gooey like cake batter, and raw like ulcerated bowels. Devaney writes the book that will heal her aching heart and relax her strictured rectum as she weaves stories from professional and public interactions with tales from her gurney.

“Geddes has produced a work well worth reading for both its content and its call to action.” – The National Post

Drink the Bitter Root is a provocative, emotionally charged account of one writer’s travels in sub-Saharan Africa. Haunted by the 1993 murder of a Somali teenager by Canadian soldiers in what became known as the Somalia affair, and long fascinated by the “dark continent,” Gary Geddes decides at age 68 to make the trip. His explorations are guided by questions: How can a tribunal in a suburb of Europe change things on the ground in Africa? Is international aid improving the lives of ordinary Africans or contributing to their suffering?

Geddes’s search takes him first to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. In Rwanda and Uganda, he attends grassroots criminal courts and encounters rescued street kids, women raped and infected with HIV during the genocide, and victims mutilated by the Lord’s Resistance Army. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Somaliland, with the help of fixers and the occasional armed guard, Geddes finds himself in the instructive—at times redeeming—presence of child soldiers, refugees and poets-turned–freedom fighters. Of particular note is his time in Somaliland, where he learns about the country’s concern with poetry as “a healing and a subversive art”; Somalia is known as a nation of poets, and Geddes attends various events that bear that appellation out, including a four-hour extravaganza of poetry devoted to celebrating the camel attended by 500 people.

The stories Geddes brings back are haunting, uplifting, stark and sometimes unbearable, but all are presented with the essential lightness Jean-Paul Sartre insisted is so crucial to good writing. This masterful blend of history, reportage, testimonial and memoir is a condemnation of the horrors spawned by greed and corruption and an eloquent tribute to human resilience.

Set across Africa, this is a deeply engaging investigation of trauma, justice and the redemptive powers of imagination from an internationally acclaimed author.

Gary Geddes has written and edited more than 45 books of poetry, fiction, drama, non-fiction, criticism, translations and anthologies and won more than a dozen national and international literary awards, including the National Magazine Gold Award, Commonwealth Poetry Prize (Americas Region), the Lt.-Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence and the Gabriela Mistral Prize from Chile. His recent titles include two books of poetry, Falsework (Goose Lane, 2007) and Swimming Ginger (Goose Lane, 2010), and two works of non-fiction, Kingdom of Ten Thousand Things (HarperCollins, 2005) and Drink the Bitter Root: A writer’s search for justice and redemption in Africa (Douglas & McIntyre, 2011).

Happy holidays from Rare Books and Special Collections! A reminder of the holiday hours for Rare Books and Special Collections, the Chung Collection and UBC Archives:

- We are closed on Saturday December 22

- We are open on Monday December 24 until mid-afternoon

- We are closed between December 25 and Jan 1 inclusive

- We are open Jan. 2 – 4, but will not open on Jan. 5. Our normal Saturday hours (12-5) resume on Jan. 12.

Did you know that Rare Books and Special Collections has excellent English literature collections? This naturally includes Charles Dickens, including the first edition of A Christmas Carol:

Image of book, A Christmas Carol

Published  in 1843, our first edition has a very delicate binding- it was clearly well loved before coming to Rare Books for preservation! But it is still very usable and you are welcome to request to see it in our reading room.

Image of the title page of Dickens' A Christmas Carol

The first edition contains the now-famous illustrations by John Leech (although I admit when I imagine A Christmas Carol in my mind, I picture Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit and Michael Caine as Scrooge!)

Enjoy the holiday season and we hope to see you here in the reading room in the new year!

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