Forget watching Star WarsAvengers, and Lord of the Rings on your cellphone– if you are looking for a larger-than-life story delivered to you in a small container check out our newly digitized epic poem Orlando Furioso in Western Manuscripts. The full size of the book is only 11 by 5 cm.

This preciously small package packs a punch though! Orlando Furioso is an Italian epic poem written in 1516. With 46 cantos (or chapters) this is one of the longest poems in literature. Our version, one of the earliest, was published in 1577.

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Orlando Furioso – when translated in to French became “Roland” – so a more apt translation of the title into English is “Raging Roland”

The poem follows Orlando, a singular knight involved in the war between Charlemagne’s Christians and the Saracen army that attempted to take over Europe. The setting ranges over the whole world, with a trip to Hell and the moon thrown in! As befitting any epic there are also soldiers, sorcerers, gigantic sea monsters, and even a hippogriff.

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This is the Canto where the main characters go from Hell to the moon. Hard to tell which one it is from this picture!

The poem focuses romantic chivalry, especially on Orlando’s love for a princess, which among other things drives him into a mad killing frenzy – romantic enough for Valentine’s day?

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A female knight is also one of the main character of the poem. Here she she is taking down a foe!

For us the tiny, tightly bound book was a challenge to digitize. Not only was it old, small, and fragile- the print often goes very close to the center binding, making it difficult to get a complete picture of for digitization.

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Can you spot the sea monster in this canto?

However here at the Digitization Centre we are nothing if not dogged in our pursuit of world digitization. To bring this epic poem to you in a digital format we used our ATIZ machine, shifting the book cradle from side to side as we digitized. It may have taken a few tries and a long while but, and this is a direct quote from our main digitizer, Leslie Fields “all in all it was really worth it”

So check it out for your self to see what all the fuss is about!

One of the best things about Open Collections is the amazing amount of images and items focused on the local area. It’s easy to look back in time. Our Now & Then blog for example is a fun way to see how the UBC campus has changed.

We’re turning our time machine to another beloved local landmark, Stanley Park. The park, which was dedicated over 125 years ago in 1888, has been a gathering spot long before settlers arrived.

Originally home to First Nations peoples the park land has evidence suggesting habitation up to 3,000 years ago. At the turn of the 17th century the settlements of Whoi Whoi and Chaythoos were removed to make was for the development of the area.

The landmark of Siwash Rock, located near  Third Beach, was once called Slahkayulsh which translates to he is standing up. Oral histories relate to story of a fisherman was transformed into the rock by three brothers as punishment for immorality.

No. 63 - Siwash Rock, Stanley Park, Vancouver, B. Taken 1912

No. 63 – Siwash Rock, Stanley Park, Vancouver, B. Taken 1912

Much of the park is still densely forested. With half a million trees it’s close to what it was in the late 1800s. Some of the trees, which stand as tall as 76 meters (249 ft) and can are hundreds of years old.

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Can you spot the men in these pictures? They are worthy of a ‘Where’s Waldo’ photo!

Many trees tourist attractions and have been for over a hundred years. Take for example the Hollow tree- which still exists in the park! Here’s a photo from over 100 years ago!

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One famous tree landmark that is gone now but can still be seen in our photo collections is the Seven Sisters, a grouping of seven enormous trees. Legend has it that the trees were seven kind souls lined up to protect visitors from an evil soul embodied in a white rock.

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So, if you have an hour or two get dressed in your Sunday best and see the park for yourself! Or explore the history of Stanley Park through Open Collections.

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Learn more about Stanley Park, learn about the history behind the park

As the end of one year approaches and the beginning of a new year sneaks up it’s always good to take a moment (or 5) to reflect.

The Digitization Centre and UBC have seen a lot of changes, this year and over time. Our new portal Open Collections premiered this year and UBC turned 100.

What’s fun about reflecting at DI is you can see a visual of how everything has changed. One of the oldest buildings on campus is our home, the Irving K Barber (IKB) Center and we’re taking the opportunity to compare a few recent photos from in and around IKB, to some digitized photos from the UBC Archives!

Main Library circa 1942

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IKB now and in 1948

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View from the lawn now and in 1973

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We hope you enjoy!

If you enjoy this blog post make sure to check out UBC Library’s post on the changing library and the evolution of libraries at UBC. Also take a look at the UBC Archives Photograph Collection!

And have a Happy New Year from everyone here at the Digitization Centre!

 

Happy Holidays everyone!

Hope you are all enjoying the holiday break. We compiled a few items for your to peruse from our collections that run in the holiday spirit. Click on any image to see it closer or download it. Hope you enjoy!

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Sequoia tree with Christmas lights in front of Library

 

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Prospector Christmas 1902

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The British Columbia Mining Record supplement. Christmas 1900

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Thesis Christmas Sheet music

 

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And last but not least… Angry Santa Disrecorder

 

 

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