p22The Sea of Cortez is located between the Baja Peninsula and mainland Mexico and is one of the youngest and most fertile seas on earth. The peninsula was formed approximately five million years ago when part of the Earth’s crust separated along the San Andreas Fault drifting in a northwesterly direction away from mainland Mexico. After colliding with southern California, an ocean basin was formed. This basin is known today as the Gulf of California or more commonly referred to as the Sea of Cortez.

Left in the wake of the collision was an explosion of natural geological wonders; a group of desert islands. The area has remained uninhabited, spellbinding and timeless. This amazing Galapagos type setting plays host to some of the rarest and most beautiful marine life on earth and offers an amazing environment for swimming, snorkeling, diving, kayaking, and hiking.

On July 15, 2005 the islands of the Sea of Cortez were declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations. It is home to thousands of species of marine animals and is the reason why Jacques Cousteau called this sea “The Aquarium of the World”.

Lela Sankeralli’s journey to the Sea of Cortez is onboard Panterra’s 110 ft. live aboard ship, the “M.V. Adventure“, custom designed and built for comfortable, quiet, intimate cruising. The ship is professionally crewed with passenger certification under the “Nacional de Seguridad Maritima” laws. The Captain and crew bring many years of mariner experience in the Sea of Cortez and offer the warmth and kindness that reflects the beauty and hospitality of the people of Mexico.   In partnership with Panterra Eco Expeditions and Panterra Educational and Cultural Training Society, the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre brings the Journey to the Sea of Cortez to campus.


1Lela Sankeralli is the founder of Panterra Educational and Cultural Programs and started her career as a marine naturalist. She has dedicated her life to teaching and mentoring. Because of an insatiable desire to seek the origins of life on earth, her passion as a wanderer and explorer has led to a career in designing educational programs in the Gulf Islands of Canada and the Sea of Cortez, Baja, Mexico.  In 2004, Lela retired, turning her business of 18 years into a non-profit organization. Her goal throughout her career has been to make a difference in the lives of the students she has come in contact with, turning them on to further learning, and instill in them the great importance and responsibility of being the future guardians of our planet.

Student Digitization Assistant displaying a TTI workstation

Evan Williamson, Student Digitization Assistant, works with a TTI workstation during a Digitization Centre tour.

About 40 Library staff were treated to behind-the-scenes tours of the Digitization Centre last week, where they learned about fascinating projects such as epigraphic squeezes and watched specialized photographic equipment in action.

Robert Stibravy began the tours with an introduction to the Centre, pointing out a myriad of images from different projects covering the walls – a small sample of the team’s digitization efforts. He noted that digitization work represents a significant UBC Library priority in terms of developing community partnerships and providing excellent learning opportunities for students. “It’s a unique experience that they’re unlikely to find elsewhere,” said Stibravy.

Tour attendees were able to see students at work with various technologies, such as a TTI photographic workstation, which contains a vacuum to flatten materials; several Atiz book-scanning machines; and a Contex sheet-fed scanner – a “gentle machine,” as Stibravy put it – that was recently used for historical land use maps.

Mimi Lam illustrated the digitization process underway for the Uno Langmann Collection, noting that this is the Library’s first project to go through the complete Archivematica lifecycle for digital preservation and archival storage. The project is one of many examples of Digitization Centre staff working in conjunction with Rare Books and Special Collections. RBSC processes and describes the physical materials, while the Digitization Centre preserves and provides public access to the digitized material.

Larissa Ringham discussed the intriguing techniques used in developing epigraphic squeezes (paper cast impressions of ancient Greek stone inscriptions) and the benefits of digitizing such items. The TLEF-funded project is a partnership with the UBC Classics Department, whose students are working on translations. “Scholars of ancient Greek used to have to learn to read these characters backwards, because the impressions created by squeezes are, of course, in reverse,” Ringham says. “Once they’re digitized, we flip the image and it’s a lot easier to study.”

Paper cast impression of ancient Greek stone impressions

Detail of an epigraphic squeeze.

 In addition to large-scale projects such as B.C. Historical Newspapers and the Chung Collection, Digitization Centre staff support efforts that may only take a few weeks – such as digitizing Faculty of Education theses to deposit in cIRcle. They are also occasionally called upon to perform digitization on demand – similar to special requests submitted for interlibrary loans.

Thank you to the Digitization Centre team for providing these informative, entertaining and excellent tours! 

We announced earlier this year that we were going to be digitizing a huge collection of photos and postcards that were donated to us by local art dealer Uno Langmann. This is quite a large project, but we’ve been diligently working away at scanning images, and creating metadata for each of them!

We’re happy to announce that the collection has now gone live! There are only two albums up right now, but many more will be going up in the coming months. Here’s a preview of some of the images that are currently online.

These first few images are from an 1867 album called Views in British Columbia with photos by Frederick Dally. It is a large bound volume and the photos and the book are in quite good shape! The images are of towns, roads, people, mining, landscapes, and buildings, among others, mostly in the Cariboo region near Quesnel.


Barnard’s Stage starting from Yale


The Hamilton family


Street scene, Barkerville, Williams Creek


The Never Sweat Tunnel Company

These next images are from an early 1900s album called Fraser River Bridge created by Armstrong, Morrison, and Co. The photos depict the building of the Fraser River Bridge (also known as the New Westminster bridge or the Fraser River Swing bridge) at various stages. Includes images of the consulting engineers and contractors for substructure of the bridge. These photos aren’t in quite as good shape as the other album, but they still look pretty good!


[Men riding a train]


Sinking Crib Pier 9


General View, Looking South


General View, Looking South

Keep watching this blog or our Twitter account for updates on when new albums are uploaded!

We are pleased to present the Digitization Centre Impact and Activity Report!

The impact and activity report describes the work of members of our unit as well as the relationships built with UBC researchers, students and community partners since the Centre’s opening in March 2011.

Some highlights from the report:


• More than 500,000 items in locally produced digital collections
• Collaborations with more than 10 UBC Library units and the wider UBC community on projects and collections
• Partnerships with more than 20 community organizations from around BC and beyond to preserve unique resources
• More than $1 million in external funding raised in collaboration with Library Development to support the creation and management of more than 15 digital collections
• Provides work opportunities that enhance the learning experience of more than 100 UBC students many of which are funded through external sources

In 2013/14
• 45 online collections that support teaching, learning, and research at UBC and beyond
• Locally hosted collections see more than 300 visits per day
• Visits from more than 100 countries to access rare and unique library holdings

2014 and beyond
• 18 current and upcoming projects will extend the scope and size of collections
• Partner on projects receiving more than $25,000 in Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund (TLEF) grants: Epigraphic Squeezes, Gold Rush Letters
• More than $19,000 in BC History Digitization Program (BCHDP) funding for two projects: Uno Langmann Family Historical Photographs, BC Sessional Papers

Many thanks to Jessica Woolman and Jeremy Buhler for their input and assistance.  We look forward to any feedback/comments and also continued collaboration on current and future projects!

LAW LIBRARY level 3: K487.G45 E97 2014
Irus Braverman et al., eds., The Expanding Spaces of Law: A Timely Legal Geography (Stanford: Stanford Law Books, 2014).

LAW LIBRARY level 3: KD5020 .L44 2014
Shaunnaugh Dorsett & John McLaren, eds., Legal Histories of the British Empire: Laws, Engagements and Legacies (Abingdon: Routledge, 2014).

LAW LIBRARY level 3: KE4430 .M66 2014
Richard Moon, Freedom of Conscience and Religion (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2014).

On 18 December 2013, UNESCO launched a new Open Access Repository making more than 300 digital reports, books and articles available to the world under the Creative Commons IGO licensesSource: http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/41265


“The [GSS cIRcle] Open Scholar Award is an excellent representation of both UBC and its graduate students’ dedication to showcasing our unique intellectual output. It gives graduate students an opportunity to showcase their knowledge outside of their normal networks while encouraging the spirit of collaboration and interdisciplinarity.” – Christopher Roach, GSS President (2013-14)

The breadth of the Award collection now spans across 35 UBC colleges, departments, schools and centres at UBC Vancouver’s Point Grey campus – check out the past Award winners and their work by clicking on their persistent links below:

Christian Brady, Dept. of Classical, Near Eastern, and Religious Studies: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/45089 || Sam Bailey and Shona Robinson, Dept. of Civil Engineering: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/45069 || Donnard MacKenzie, Fac. of Education and Dept. of Theatre, Film and Creative Writing: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/44090 || Robert DeAbreu, Dept. of Curriculum and Pedagogy: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/44045 || Lisa Cornish, Victoria Feige, Adriana Guenter, Christina Kliewer and Emily Mellis, Dept. of Physical Therapy: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/43229 || Jennifer Gonsalves, Evin Kuyer, Tamara McKay, Amy Moffat and Stephanie Palmer, Dept. of Physical Therapy: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/42941.

“cIRcle catalyzes the sharing and building of ideas, motivating students to improve their work and to give back to the research community that provides so much for them.” – Robert DeAbreu, GSS cIRcle Open Scholar Award Winner, April 2013

Award eligibility, monetary value, timing, and other details are listed at: http://circle.sites.olt.ubc.ca/gss-graduate-student-society-open-scholar-award/.

Did You Know?

The latest GSS cIRcle Open Scholar Award winners announced in May 2014 were Rafa Absar and Helen Halbert, School of Library, Archival and Information Studies: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/45340 and Polly Ng, School of Community and Regional Planning: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/45720. All UBC Vancouver graduate students are encouraged to submit their non-thesis graduate work to cIRcle, UBC’s Digital Repository at: https://circle.ubc.ca/handle/2429/42591. Next Award draw deadline is September 24, 2014.

Above image is courtesy of Pixabay

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