Papyri scraps rediscovered in UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC) are shedding light on life in ancient Egypt.

It’s believed that the small papyrus scraps, which fit in the palm of an adult hand, are the first of their kind in Western Canada. The scraps, written in Greek, date back to Roman-age Egypt, about 1,800 years ago. The pieces are made from the papyrus plant, a reed used to produce the ancient equivalent of paper. Both were excavated in Egypt and made their way to UBC in the 1930s.

“Together, they reveal intimate details of life in Roman Egypt,” said Toph Marshall, a professor at UBC’s department of classical, near eastern and religious studies (CNERS). “These documents are a window on a lost world, revealing the daily activities of ordinary people.”

The pieces have been stored at UBC Library’s  since the 1930s. However, they remained largely unnoticed over the years, until 2014, when a PhD student in classics at UBC approached RBSC for a project. The RBSC librarian brought the papyri scraps to the student’s attention. The student alerted her professor, Tope Marshall- who has since written a paper on the papyri.

The Library has digitized the papyri; and pictures are also available on Flickr


Read the full media release from UBC News: “Window on a lost world”: rediscovered papyri at UBC shed light on ancient Egypt” (July 6).

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Digital Repository Librarian        
Digital Programs and Services
UBC Library, Vancouver Campus
(Full-time, ongoing)
Anticipated Start Date: September 8, 2015

The University of British Columbia Library is one of the largest academic libraries in Canada and consistently ranks among the top university research libraries in North America. UBC Library has 14 branches and divisions, two campuses (Vancouver and Kelowna), one off-site hospital library, and the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre – a multi-purpose teaching and learning facility.

The Library’s collection of over 7M items includes 1.4M ebooks, 229,020 electronic journals, 850,000 maps, audio, DVD/video and graphic materials, and 1,703 bibliographic and fulltext databases.

More than 300 knowledgeable employees – librarians, management and professional staff, support staff and student staff – provide users with the excellent resources and services that they need to further their research, teaching and learning. The UBC Library Strategic Plan 2010-2015 can be viewed at To learn more about working with UBC Library and to explore our aspirational values visit UBC Library – Why work with us.

For more information about cIRcle, UBC Library’s Digital Repository, please visit

Overview of the position:

The Digital Repository Librarian is responsible for developing, supporting, and assessing recruitment activities as well as managing the content in cIRcle, UBC’s open access digital repository. The role is also responsible for managing the repository software and technical system administration of the cIRcle database; managing the development and implementation of content policies and procedures; ensuring copyright compliance of repository content; and undertaking promotion of cIRcle and open access. The Digital Repository Librarian is responsible for many of the day-to-day activities of cIRcle, including liaising with reference librarians and with faculty regarding content recruitment, assuring the application of interoperability standards for metadata; assisting with ongoing development of an assessment program for the digital repository; overseeing internal records management activities in the cIRcle office, and developing and maintaining the cIRcle web site.


  • A graduate degree from an accredited school of Library, Archival and Information Science.
  • Knowledge of digital repository software platforms, as well as other tools in the digital library environment.
  • Knowledge of open access mandates and agreements regarding the deposit of materials into open access repositories.
  • Demonstrated ability to work in a collaborative team environment.
  • Excellent communication, analytical, organizational and interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to make effective presentations to faculty, students, library colleagues, etc.
  • Demonstrated project management skills, both independently and as a team member.
  • Public service experience and demonstrated commitment to customer service
  • An aptitude for entrepreneurial activity in project identification and project development.
  • Excellent analytical, organizational, problem solving and interpersonal skills.
  • Flexibility and willingness to assume a variety of assignments.
  • Working experience with digital repositories.
  • Working experience in a research or other large academic library, and public service experience.
  • Understanding of the changing environment of scholarly communication and of new publishing models.
  • Understanding of copyright and permissions issues.
  • Working knowledge of project management software.
  1. Collaborates with reference librarians and faculty to recruit content that falls within the cIRcle acquisition policy.
  2. Manages content recruitment projects and content management workflows .
  3. Facilitates support for institutional compliance with open access requirements, including the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy to make resulting peer-reviewed journal articles freely available online within 12 months of publication.
  4. Develops project and workflow schedules, overseeing copyright and license management workflows, and creating training materials and procedural documentation.
  5. Coordinates educational efforts with other library units and delivers internal and external presentations to build awareness and confidence in repository services.
  6. Develops, refines and applies assessment criteria for the digital repository.
  7. Collaborates with IT and DPS to maintain digital preservation program.
  8. Promotes cIRcle and open access both on and off campus.
  9. Manages the implementation, customization and troubleshooting of repository software.
  10. Consults with Central Technical Services staff regarding mediated deposit service workflows and metadata issues and works to ensure that appropriate content management support for the cIRcle database is in place.
  11. Undertakes and assists with projects and initiatives aimed at the enhancement and expansion of repository and related services.
  12. Coordinates reporting of software problems, specification of software customizations and upgrades, and software testing.
  13. Performs system administrator functions in the cIRcle database (currently using DSpace).
  14. Develops and maintains content for the cIRcle web site.
  15. Participates in library committees and works on special projects as assigned.
  16. Supervises staff and students as required.

Working Relationships:

Reports to the Head, Digital Programs and Services. cIRcle is part of Digital Programs and Services (DPS), and strategic direction is provided by the AUL, Digital Programs and Services. A high degree of planning, collaboration and coordination with other staff in the Library and with external partners is required, particularly with Information Technology staff, reference librarians, Central Technical Services staff, and colleagues in other Digital Programs and Services units. Works closely with external software contractors, and may supervise the work of library staff and student assistants.

Terms of Appointment and Salary:

This position will be filled as a full time ongoing position. If eligible and qualified, the successful applicant may be appointed with a confirmed appointment. Otherwise, there will be an initial three-year probationary appointment. Normally, such an appointment is reviewed by the end of the second year of appointment, and a recommendation is made at that time to grant or not to grant a confirmed appointment.

Salary will be commensurate with experience and academic/professional qualifications.

We are seeking applications from Librarians with up to 2 years of experience. However, all internal candidates will be considered regardless of years of experience and are encouraged to apply.

UBC hires on the basis of merit and is committed to employment equity. The University especially welcomes applications from visible minority groups, women, Aboriginal persons, persons with disabilities, persons of minority sexual orientations and gender identities, and others with the skills and knowledge to engage productively with diverse communities. We encourage all qualified applicants to apply. However, Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada will be given priority.

Applications will include: a letter of application that includes a statement of citizenship/immigration status and indicates the candidate’s education, training and work experience in the areas listed above; a detailed and current curriculum vitae.

To view the complete job description and to submit an application, please visit the UBC Careers page at by midnight on August 6, 2015.

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