Come and celebrate Diwali (Festival of Lights) with the Asian Library, with the support of the Department of Asian Studies.

Thursday, November 12, 2020
11:00 am to 11:30 am 
Virtual event! Please register at

Diwali or Deepavali, which means “a row of lights”, is the most widely celebrated festival in India and throughout the Indian diaspora. It is celebrated on Amavasya (darkest night or no moon day), it usually takes place at the end of October or the first week of November. Diwali marks the victory of good over evil, and the beginning of the New Year in India. The festival celebration, which typically lasts from five to seven days, is celebrated by several South Asian Communities, and by the majority of Indians regardless of faith, including Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists and Christians. On Diwali, people decorate their houses with diyas, candles as well as colourful lights, and they share gifts and recite prayers.

The event will be virtual this year. Everyone is cordially invited to experience the diversity of South Asian culture through music and dance performances.

Collaboration, the UBC-V 2020 virtual Digital Humanities Conference ends on Oct. 31st, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t continue learning. Check all the great resources available at UBC Library:

Get started with the Digital Humanities Library Guide, which points you to books, articles, events, tools, and databases on the matter.

But what are Digital Humanities, anyway? Matthew Kirschenbaum asked that same question in his highly cited chapter What Is Digital Humanities and What’s It Doing in English Departments?, part of the book Defining Digital Humanities, edited by Melissa Terras, Julianne Nyhan and Edward Vanhoutte.

“As a way of identifying digital interests and efforts within traditional humanities fields, the term “digital humanities” identifies, in general terms, any kind of critical engagement with digital tools and methods in a humanities context. This includes the creation of digital editions and digital text or image collections, and the creation and use of digital tools for the investigation and analysis of humanities research materials. It also includes the aggregation and arrangement of digital resources and tools in order to present humanities material to students, and other forms of broader dissemination. Finally, the term can be used to refer to tools, processes, and projects that expand access to the source materials of scholarship and teaching such as primary source texts, images, representations of artifacts, objects of study, and secondary source materials.” (Flanders & Mylonas, 2017, p. 1287)

Doing more digital Humanities, includes publications by well known Canadian Digital Humanities practitioners and scholars, and is a great “how to guide” to get you started on your projects.

Want to learn more about text analysis in a safe space? Collaborate with the Data Sitters Club, a feminist collective of Digital Humanities practitioners and researchers. One might ask: “Is that really necessary?”. Unfortunately, it is, as authors point out that equity is far from reality in books like:

Transformative digital humanities : challenges and opportunities, edited by Mary Balkun and Marta Deyrup

Intersectionality in Digital Humanities, edited by Barbara Bordalejo and Roopika Risam

New digital worlds: postcolonial digital humanities in theory, praxis, and pedagogy, by Roopika Risam.

UBC has several exciting tools and resources to support Digital Humanities initiatives, such as:

Abacus dataverse, a data repository collaboration between UBC, SFU, UNBC and UVic.

The Database of religious history, an encyclopedia of religious cultural history.

Downtown East Side – Reseach Access Portal (DTES-RAP) , which makes DTES related resources more accessible.

Geodisy, a platform for geospatial Canadian open research data.

UBC Library Open Collections, with over 240.000 digital objects.

Want to learn more? The Research Commons offers several Digital Scholarship events and workshops.


Flanders, J., Mylonas, E. (2017). Digital Humanities. In J. D. McDonald, M. Levine-Clark (Ed.),  Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences (4th ed.). doi: 10.1081/E-ELIS4

Public Humanities Hub. (2020) Digital Humanities Conference Banner [digital image]. Digital Humanities Conference.

O’Reilly for Higher Education (also known as Safari) ebooks will have accounts reset for those using the “new” authentication method.

What does this mean? Access will still be fine, it is just that any history from previous visits to the site might be lost. We apologize, but in the transition from the “old” to “new” authentication, many duplicate accounts were created.

Please report any problems encountered via our Help Form.

Thrive is a time where we come together as a UBC community to learn about, talk about, and explore ways to support mental health.  Promoting mental health literacy, reducing stigma, reflecting on diverse perspectives and experiences, creating a supportive campus culture, and ensuring that faculty, staff and students have the resources to help them understand […]

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Show and Tell: Selections from our Personal Archives and Libraries

How we remember, and what we hold dear, differs from person to person. All of us have personal archives we keep to preserve memories that are precious, that document our families, our histories and record important events. It could be a simple piece of ephemera we love and cannot part with (a ticket stub from our first concert, for example), or photographs of ancestors that offer clues to our origins, or anything we have set aside and saved for a myriad reasons. Similarly, our personal libraries hold volumes that have emotional value to us, not just for the words contained in it, but as a reflection of a time in our lives, we found them particularly relevant. This could be the first book of poetry that made us fall in love with verse, or the dog-eared copy of a classic novel that led us to our current passion for libraries and library work. This blog series explores selections from the personal libraries and archives of members of the Rare Books and Special Collections team, and other colleagues from UBC Library and beyond. We hope our stories will help you reflect on what is meaningful at this time in your, and in our, collective histories.

— Krisztina Laszlo, Archivist

Ashlynn Prasad, Archives and Reference Assistant, RBSC

As a young professional acquainting myself with archives, it actually took me a long time to understand the ways in which the archival world had already touched my personal life. I started working in an archives at the age of 18, at which point older cousins of mine had already been entering what I would come to understand as archival spaces for years. They were undertaking a genealogical research project that would hopefully uncover who we were, who our ancestors had been, and where we all came from.

Nana’s Birth Certificate

The information that had travelled down through the generations about our family history was minimal at best: we knew that my great-grandparents’ generation had migrated to Fiji from India in the late 1800s. We knew that they had been indentured labourers for the British Empire, who held control of India at that time and were looking for a labour force to work the land in Fiji, another place they had colonized. The list of things we didn’t know was much longer: the names of our ancestors who had originally migrated, the name of the ship they had come over on, where in India they had come from, why they had chosen to leave their home for a difficult life of farming on a remote island nation that was fraught with sometimes violent tension between the colonizers and the indigenous community – and the list went on. Theories abounded in our family, particularly over the latter question. Our theories were mostly romanticized stories that we told ourselves, about ancestors who had fled India, perhaps to escape arranged marriages, with a secret lover, in hopes for more freedom in Fiji.

Research on the part of my cousins and other Indo-Fijian scholars has provided us with a vision of the past that is slightly less rosy. In recent years, the term “indentured labour” has come to be understood as little better than debt slavery. And while we had assumed that our lack of information about our ancestors was due to an intentional effort on their part to hide information about themselves, it now appears that the true reason is due largely to the poor record-keeping practices of the British.

A further complicating factor has been the fact that naming conventions among the Indo-Fijian community are different than what we in western society are accustomed to, and what the British record keepers would have expected. In Indo-Fijian society, there is no such thing as a family name. Siblings will often all have the same last name, but it won’t be the same name as their parents. Because of this, it is nearly impossible to track lineage through a family name. And because the British record keepers didn’t understand this, there is nothing in the records of Indo-Fijian immigrants to tie generations of one family together.

This is what has made the search for our family’s origins so challenging. The search has been a piecemeal collaboration of whatever information we can find. It has included scraps of records that we were able to find using the information we already had, such as the birth certificate of my maternal grandfather pictured above.

Aja’s Emigration Pass

It has also included records that were painstakingly dug up from the notoriously restrictive Fiji National Archives. In one instance, my cousin began undertaking research in the archives, equipped with the name of my mother’s paternal grandfather – he had dropped his first and middle names and simply went by his last name, “Gupta” (written by the British as “Guptar”). My cousin was able to narrow down his search to two possible records, but reached an impasse because he had no further information about our great-grandfather. The only way he was ever able to figure it out was by calling upon the help of the rest of the family: my mother, her ten siblings, and the twenty-eight cousins in my generation. It turned out that, years before, a great-aunt had visited my parents, had told a few stories and happened to mention the name of a village in India, which my mother had happened to make a note of. That piece of information allowed my cousin to narrow down his search to the record you see here: my great-grandfather’s emigration pass, which tells us his father’s name, his age when he migrated, his brother’s name, the specific area in India he came from, his occupation, and – perhaps most interestingly – his caste.

In some ways, the moral of the story had been in front of me for years before I even knew what an archives was: good record keeping matters.

Join this week of webinars and workshops exploring the practice of open scholarship, and hear from UBC colleagues who are incorporating “openness” in innovative ways to enhance teaching, research, and public impact.

Did The Addams Family theme lure you or are you excited about your first Halloween in Canada? Either way you can count on Koerner Library to celebrate this spooky season!

Yes, the pandemic has slowed things down, but, did you know that the Public Health Agency of Canada developed Halloween Safety documents even before COVID-19? It was a long journey from a pagan ritual to a socially distanced celebration, and some resources might help you understand and enjoy it.

Library Guides can also help you to explore subject databases to find Journal articles and books related to Halloween. Some that you may want to try include History, Sociology, or Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice to find more resources like these:

Almost a 100 years ago, Ruth Edna Kelley was already curious about Halloween and wrote The Book of Hallowe’en. Many things have changed and on Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night, Nicholas Rogers thoroughly explored History, acknowledged librarians’ support on his research and engaged his readers; how could we not recommend this to you?

Halloween is more than a date, it’s a significant event in pop culture. It has influenced books, movies and plays, and Halloween: Youth Cinema and the Horrors of Growing Up, by Mark Bernard helps to bring that to light. Forty years after terrifying people all over the world, in 2018, the Halloween franchise launched a successful sequel that you can watch from one of our film streaming databases, check it out!

Not a fan of the Halloween franchise? UBC Library provides access to many other movies trough Streaming Media Resources. Does it seem hard to find films using the library catalogue? Don’t panic and check our Film Finding and Using Guide. You can also browse a great list of scary movies that LASSA UBC (Library and Archival Studies Students Association at UBC iSchool) curated especially for Halloween weekend!

Not in the mood for movies? We’ve got some fun books, too!

Coraline, by Neil Gaiman might be a novel for Young Adults, but it terrifies all audiences!

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein might be a well known classic, but in 2017 it was also recreated as an annotated version for creators and scientists, and in 2018 UBC alumna Linda Bailey launched Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein.

Do you find ravens lovely creatures? Nevermore! Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Mystery, Imagination and Humour  is an inspiration to many authors.

Stephen King is a famous writer of horror, and many of his novels were adapted to screen. Whichever format is your favorite, you can find his work at UBC Library.

From historical references to scary movies, we’ve got you covered for this spooky season!


Andrus, Emily. (2016). Witch’ book will put you under its spell? [online image]. Literary Hoots.

Mizzy, Vic. (1964). Addams Family Theme. RCA Victor.

With Halloween coming up soon, we’d like to remind everyone who will be dressing up to be aware of cultural appropriation when selecting a costume. What does this mean? Cultural appropriation is when someone uses elements of a culture not their own for their own purposes. These kinds of costumes reduce a culture to harmful stereotypes and dismiss any important cultural meaning that may be attached to traditional clothing or belongings.

Now is a great time to get creative! We can respect other cultures and still come up with clever, funny, scary costumes.

Local Love had a great article last year on why cultural appropriation on Halloween isn’t okay.

And if you’d like to learn about cultural appropriation versus cultural appreciation, check out this video with Rosanna Deerchild:

Click here to view the embedded video.

For those of you who are staying home and may be looking for some spooky movies to watch, there’s a few different resources for streaming video which you can find through “Indexes and Databases” in the UBC Library catalogue.

Remember to login to the library website using your CWL before you start browsing:

  • Audio Cine Films: This collection offers access to 1000’s of titles from the world’s most renowned film studios and producers. You can filter your results to their Halloween category.
  • Criterion on Demand: Find over 2000 streamed feature films including classics, new releases, foreign films, literary adaptations, documentaries, animated titles, and independent features. Depending on how spooky you want to get, choose from their genres like horror, mystery, or thriller.
  • World Cinema Collection: Films produced in the silent era to contemporary times from around the world. Using their advanced search option you can search for Horror OR Thriller and select “videos” under search options.

Support Analyst I

Mitchell Wynkoop, Support Analyst IBackground

Mitchell Wynkoop (Mitch) is rejoining the learning center in a Support Analyst I role after completing his co-op and MLIS at the UBC School of Information in 2020. Mitchell was the co-op student assigned to work on the LibCal Implementation project for UBC Libraries. His professional experience includes work with academic libraries (with an emphasis on technology), management and customer service. Mitchell is passionate about opening access to information and technologies for users to educate and better themselves as well as their communities.



Current role and responsibilities

As a continuing role from Mitchell’s co-op experience with UBC Libraries, his support analyst position is primarily focused on the event and room booking system and its ongoing development. In addition to being a LibCal program resource, Mitchell also has had the opportunity to support additional library projects. He is interested in developing further web development skills in addition to data analysis.



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