UBC alumus Lindsay Wong is getting a lot of attention this fall for her new book The Woo-Woo: How I Survived Ice Hockey, Drug Raids, Demons, and My Crazy Chinese Family. The gut-wrenching and beguiling memoir details Wong’s coming of age in a dysfunctional Asian family whose members blamed their woes on ghosts and demons when in fact they should have been on anti-psychotic meds. Wong’s story is a witty and touching account of the Asian immigrant experience and a harrowing, honest depiction of the vagaries of mental illness. The book was a finalist for the prestigious 2018 Hilary Weston Prize for Non-Fiction.

We spoke with Lindsay about her writing process, her time at UBC’s Creative Writing Program, how she came to find her unmistakable dark, comedic voice as well as her experiences at UBC Library. Spoiler: she was almost hit by lightning in front of the Koerner Library! Read on to learn more.

What inspired you to write your memoir?

I think I fell into memoir, or maybe the genre just grabbed me. Anyway, I blame the sorting hat system in UBC’s Creative Writing Program, where they assign us to classes based on our admissions portfolio. Memoir just felt like a very necessary and painful thing to do (like root canal surgery). Writing the manuscript was a means for me to understand who I was in relation to my family and to make sense of the severe mental illness that surrounded me.

Did you write your memoir for a particular audience?

Mostly, I wrote the memoir for myself, as this would be a book that I would have desperately needed and wanted being CBC (Chinese Born Canadian) growing up in the suburbs of Vancouver.  But I do think that mental illness has never been explicitly addressed in Asian immigrant writing in North America, as it’s such a taboo subject in our culture. I hope all readers, not just Chinese-Canadians, connect to the universal themes of mental illness and dysfunctional family relationships in the book.

Tell us about the statement: “We would eventually learn that we could not run away from ourselves” and why it’s a reoccurring theme throughout the book.

There’s a motif in The Woo-Woo about migration and diaspora and running away. My family flees extreme poverty in Hong Kong, and when they arrive in Canada, they’re always running from ghosts (which represents mental illness and various other issues). My character, too, is always trying to run away from herself, by first running to Honolulu then all the way to New York City. I wanted to show that there was this intergenerational cycle of frenzied physical relocation that almost every member of the family attempts, yet it never works. All the members in my family are always trying to outrun “ghosts”, each other, and themselves. Essentially, the Wongs and their extended kin are trapped.

Can you share how your writing process while at UBC evolved and how your decision to change the tone of your book came about while at Columbia University?

As a younger writer, I was definitely more serious in tone, and I didn’t quite have a sense of humour. I was still finding my voice, and as a writing student, you tend to think that all literary writing has to be serious in order to really matter. When I moved to New York City, there was an emphasis on humour and comedic writing in our workshops, and I think one naturally tends to develop an absurdist point of view in order to survive the subway system in New York City. While I was studying at Columbia, there were also three suicides. It was a difficult and competitive place. Anyway, once I allowed my subconsciousness to flow, I was able to find my voice, and the writing came naturally.

How did you do research for the book? Did UBC Library’s resources inform your work in any way?

I only wrote 1-2 character sketches about my grandmother and my aunt while I was a UBC Creative Writing student, so most of my research was done through phone or in-person interviews. I did not need to use the library’s resources for the memoir at the time. But I did use the printer and photocopier every few days, especially during graduate school application season. I broke the printer at Koerner Library trying to print out my application for Oxford and I was later wait-listed. Does that count as a library resource? (Our answer: Yes, it absolutely does! Learn more about UBC Library’s Pay for Print services.)

Did you have a favourite study spot at UBC Library while you were a student here?

I’d find an empty corner to study at Koerner Library in one of the quiet upper levels or sometimes I’d write my essays in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre and drink 3-5 chai lattes in Ike’s cafe. Those lemon poppy seed muffins were addictive. True story: I was almost struck by lightning right outside of Koerner Library!  It was around 10 p.m., I had a first-year Women’s Studies paper due the next day, and I was leaving the library to make the long trek back to Totem Park. All of a sudden, I was blinded by very hot, intense white light and knocked backwards. I landed on my butt a few feet away and my skin and hair felt fried!  It was all very weird and confusing, but then I saw lightning splashing everywhere. I survived.

Follow Lindsay’s writing on her website.


BQ6353 K82 S4825 2018
近代化する金閣 : 日本仏教教団史講義 / 藤田和敏

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評伝横井小楠 : 未来を紡ぐ人, 1809-1869 / 小島英記

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神の島のうた / 葛西亜理沙写真;中脇初枝文

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射芸の探求と教育の射 / 入江康平

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近世武家社会の奥向構造 : 江戶城・大名武家屋敷の女性と職制 / 福田千鶴

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子どもの貧困 : 未来へつなぐためにできること / NPO 法人キッズドア理事長渡辺由美子

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神をまつる神社建築 : 玉殿の起源と発展 / 山田岳晴

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権力の肖像 : 狩野派絵画と天下人 / 松島仁

PL696 Y66 2018
ことばが消えたワケ : 時代を読み解く俗語の世界 / 米川明彦

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波瀾万丈の明治小說 / 杉原志啓

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常世の花石牟礼道子 / 若松英輔

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和菓子 : 伝統と創造 : 何に価値の真正性を見出すのか / 森崎美穂子


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温州基督徒與中國草根全球化 / 曹南來

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不曾结束的一戰 : 帝國滅亡与中東歐民族國家興起 / 羅伯·葛沃斯(Robert Gerwarth)著 ; 馮奕達譯

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用電影說印度 : 從婆羅門到寶萊塢, 五千燦爛文明背後的現實樣貌 / 黃偉雯

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北朝鮮核危機!全内幕.  金正恩的外交遊戲 : 你不知的北韓核武真相 / 牧野愛博(Makino, Yoshihiro)著 ; 林巍翰譯

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中外交通古地圖集 / 朱鑒秋, 陳佳榮, 錢江, 譚廣濂編著

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海上丝绸之路与亚洲海域交流(15世纪末-20世纪初) / 松浦章(Matsuura, Akira)著 ; 孔颖编译

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血性文章 : 鲁迅研究序跋集 / 陈漱渝

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金庸小说的文化与价值研究 / 余醴

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人之彼岸 / 郝景芳

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大乔小乔 / 张悦然

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自行车之歌 / 苏童

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中国文献载体演变史 / 赵海丽, 蔡先金


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율곡 이 묻고 퇴계 가 답 하다 : 퇴계 와 율곡 의 성리학 과 정치 철학 / 김 형찬

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끌려 가다, 버려 지다, 우리 앞 에 서다 : 사진 과 자료 로 보는 일본군 ‘위안부’ 피해 여성 이야기 / 기획 서울시 여성 가족 정책실 ; 집필 서울대 인권 센터 정 진성 연구팀

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조선 의 퀴어 / 박 차 민정

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평양 미술 : 조선화 너 는 누구냐 / 문 범강

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근대 조선 의 여행자들 : 그들 의 눈 에 비친 조선 과 세계 / 우 미영

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1930년대 한, 중 모더니즘 시 의 근대성 비교 연구 / 趙 萍

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혼불, 저항 의 감성 과 탈식민성 / 서 철원

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체공녀 강 주룡 : 박서련 장편 소설

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너 와 극장 에서 : 언제나 영화로운 이곳 / 엮은이 서울 독립 영화제 ; 기획 김 동현, 김 지은, 이 채현 ; 인터뷰 진행 이 채현 ; 촬영/인터뷰 사진 송 기영 ; 편집 유 정미

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광고 로 보는 출판 의 역사. 일제 강점기 편 : 1910-1945 / 서해 문집 출판 문화 연구소 ; 김 흥식 엮음

UBC Library has been named as a successful recipient for the Research Data Management (RDM) funding call from CANARIE, a non-profit corporation that supports research, education and innovation in Canada. Announced in May 2018, the funding call requested projects that focused on the development of tools to support Canadian researchers in following data management best practices, according to priorities identified by CANARIE through consultation with RDM stakeholders. Nine recipients from institutions across Canada were awarded a total of 3.2M dollars in funding.

With this funding, UBC Library will lead a project to build the Federated Geospatial Data Discovery for Canada, with collaborative support from UBC IT, UBC VPRI ARC, Scholars Portal, University of Toronto, CARL Portage, Compute Canada, McMaster University, and the Canadian Historical Geographic Information Systems Partnership. Eugene Barsky, Research Data Services Librarian, Evan Thornberry, GIS Librarian, and Paul Lesack, GIS Analyst, are co-primary investigators on the project.

“Our collaborative goal for the next 18 months is to create an extensible open-source software that allows users to discover Canadian geospatial research data,” says Barsky. “We are very excited to work with our campus and Canada-wide partners, from Vancouver to Halifax to Hamilton, and cannot wait to get started.”

There is a growing interest in spatial research across disciplines, but the data repositories most commonly used in Canada right now often lack a map-based interface through which researchers can search through data for location-based components. The goal of the Federated Geospatial Data Discovery for Canada is to create an extensible software method to find and display location-aware data in a search interface that would be both map- and text-based.

“We’re making big steps forward with these opportunities to provide better support and discoverability for geodata produced by researchers here at UBC and others from across Canada,” says Thornberry.

The project is currently on track to be completed before April 2020. Read more in the CANARIE press release issued today.

Students, researchers and the wider community can now access original pamphlets from the French Revolution thanks to a partnership between UBC Library and French, Hispanic and Italian Studies.

Closed Remembrance Day

On October 26, the Asian Library hosted an early Diwali (Festival of Lights) or Deepavali celebration – the most widely celebrated festival in India and throughout South Asia – in partnership with the Centre for India and South Asia Research, Department of Asian Studies, and South Asian Canadian Histories Association. There were about 100 participants who enjoyed the tasty samosas, Khadija Bhatti’s henna painting, Klara Milada’s mantra singing and crystal bowl playing, a Hindi song by Raghavendra Rao K.V., a Research Associate from the Institute of Asian Research, a Punjabi song by Gurinder Mann, and Bhangra by the dancers of Gurdip Art’s Academy.

Sarbjit Randhawa, South Asian and Himalayan Studies Librarian, would like to thank Dr. Anne Murphy, Associate Prof. for Punjabi Language, Literature and Sikh Studies for her continued support to the Asian Library, and Shirin Eshghi, Head of the Asian Library, for her ongoing support and encouragement.

DHSI – the Digital Humanities Summer Institute – is a humanities training program held every summer at the University of Victoria. Delivered over a week, each course is an intensive series of classes interspersed with colloquiums, unconferences, and other community-based events, and provides an ideal environment for influencing teaching, research, dissemination, creation, and preservation in different disciplines. Course offerings have historically included such topics as text analysis, data visualization, digital pedagogy, programming, topic modelling, and more.

UBC Library is continuing as a sponsoring partner of DHSI thanks to the support of University Librarian Susan Parker. As part of this sponsorship, the Library provides free registration – normally $950 with the early bird rate, or $1,250 at full cost – for five library employees to attend a course at DSHI 2019, June 3-7 or 10-14.

If you would like to be considered for one of these sponsored spots, please submit the following to digital.initiatives@ubc.ca by October 31st:

  • A short statement of interest (300 words max)
  • Your preferred course(s)
  • Source(s) of funding you would use to cover the other costs of attending DHSI (travel, accommodation, incidentals)
  • If you have attended DHSI in the past on UBC Library-sponsored spot: the years you attended and the courses you completed

Any UBC Library staff member with an interest in Digital Humanities is invited to apply. Submissions will be reviewed by members of the Library’s Digital Humanities Working Group; we hope to notify successful applicants by November 6th.

NOTE: Participants from sponsoring institutions can also attend DHSI at a reduced rate of $650, using a discount code. If you are planning to attend DHSI next year and are interested in registering at this discounted rate, please contact Larissa Ringham (larissa.ringham@ubc.ca) for the code *before you register*, as the discount cannot be applied retroactively.

We look forward to seeing your applications! Please let us know if you have any questions.

The Meiji at 150 Project commemorates the 150th anniversary of Japan’s 1868 Meiji Restoration. As part of the project, UBC Library digitized works from the Meiji period (1868-1912), including 21 woodblock prints, 1 hand-painted kimono book, over 41 photographs, a 7-volume book on the Ainu, and more. As part of the newly launched Meiji at 150 Digital Teaching Resource (DTR), fifteen visual essays were curated for the project to pair with the digital collection, providing historical context and analysis for many items.

This digitization project is generously sponsored by the Consulate-General of Japan in Vancouver.

Here are some highlights from the collection and their corresponding essays:

Woodblock prints

These Japanese woodblock prints depict Meiji modernization, showing Western architecture in Japan. Naoko Kato, Japanese Language Librarian at UBC Asian Library and DTR co-editor, explores these prints by focusing on Japan’s self-depiction in her essay, “Reviewing Meiji via Japanese-Canadian Connections”. Her essay draws connections with how Canadians viewed Japan and with Japanese-Canadian perspectives, pulling from other digitized materials in Open Collections. Fellow co-editor Tristan R. Grunow, from UBC’s Department of History, analyzes how these woodblock prints support a particular narrative of Ginza Bricktown in his essay “Ginza Bricktown and the Myth of Meiji Modernization”, when in fact modernization was not a straight-forward project.

Ikkei. Kaiunbashi Kawaseza no zu, [1872].

Utagawa, Kuniteru. Tōkyō Asakusabashi kisen shijo rōshō jōkyō tsūkō rakueki kōka no zu, [1874?].

Utagawa, Kuniteru. Daiichi Daiku Kyōbashi yori Shinbashi made renga ishizukuri shōka hanjō kisen sōtaku seikei, [between 1870 and 1874].


Moyō no hon (模様之本, “pattern book”)

This book contains 21 hand-painted kimono designs. Ayako Yoshimura’s essay “A Glimpse of Meiji Kimono Fashion” provides context, including the history of pattern books and the symbols in common motifs. Here are some of the designs – you can explore the full book here.

Moyō no hon, [between 1875 and 1880].

John Cooper Robinson Photograph Collection

As part of the Meiji 150 project, UBC Library digitized selected photographs from the John Cooper Robinson fonds, in Rare Books & Special Collections. John Cooper Robinson was a missionary and photographer who spent time in Japan from 1888 to 1925, photographing Japanese life in the Meiji period.

Allen Hockley’s essay describes how John Cooper Robinson used commercial photography studios as part of his amateur photography practice. In “J. Cooper Robinson: A Canadian Missionary and Photographer in Japan, 1888-1925”, Benjamin Bryce (Robinson’s great-great-grandson) explores Robinson’s photographic motivations and themes.

[Robinson, John Cooper]. Yokohama pier, May 1918.

[Robinson, John Cooper]. Main Street Karuizawa, August 1917.

[Unknown]. J.C.R. with Hilda and Cuth[bert] on back, [1900?].

Nishiki-e (錦絵, “brocade pictures”)

In “Meiji Daughters: Their Stuff and Fancy in Brocade Pictures, 1870s-1880s”, Miriam Wattles explores women’s roles and labor early in the Meiji period. Below are some images from the collection explored in-depth in her essay:

Hiroshige III. Rikuchū no kuni yōsan no zu. 6, [1877].

Hashimoto, Chikanobu. Shōgaku shōka no ryakuzu, [1887?].


To learn more, check out the Meiji at 150 Digital Teaching Resource, which provides a great entry point to Japanese-related digital collections at UBC. Thanks to a Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund grant awarded to the Scholarly Communications and Copyright Office, you can also view the essay collection as a digital book, Digital Meijis: Revisualizing Modern Japanese History at 150.



This is a series on web archiving at the UBC Library. For all posts about web archiving, please see https://digitize.library.ubc.ca/tag/web-archiving/

From the new report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, to the new NAFTA (USMCA) Agreement to Vancouver’s housing crisis, government information is all around us. Historically, government information was sent to academic libraries via depository agreements, but with the phasing out of print publishing in favor of born digital publications, the majority of these deposit agreements have ceased.

Born digital information can be taken down as quickly as it is published and government information is no exception. Websites are removed for a variety of reasons including the site being seen as outdated, perceived national security issues, changes in administrations or organizational and departmental website guidelines. Canada’s federal Guidelines on Implementing the Standard on Web Accessibility includes a section on website links perceived to be redundant, outdated or trivial (ROT). What may be trivial according to government guidelines could be of value to researchers, historians or the general public, which is where the importance of web archiving comes in.

Since 2013, archiving government websites has been at the forefront of UBC Library’s archiving initiatives.  One of the Library’s first web archiving projects involved archiving federal government websites. In 2013, the federal government announced that the government’s web presence would be consolidated from over 1500 websites down to essentially one – canada.ca.   Librarians were warned that the merger would result in the removal of valuable information including reports and data, which wouldn’t be transferred to the new site. Due to the enormous scale of the project, UBC Library collaborated with other academic libraries across Canada to quickly archive nine federal departments including Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Canadian Heritage, the National Research Council, Elections Canada and the Canadian Human Right Council. These sites are now preserved and viewable on the Library’s Archive-IT collection page.

Canadian Government Information – Digital Preservation Network (CGI-DPN)

The federal government website project was initiated by the Canadian Government Information – Digital Preservation Network (CGI-DPN), a national collaborative web archiving group established in 2012, of which UBC is a partner.

Modelling itself on the U.S. Digital Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), CGI-DPN uses LOCKSS to distribute copies of replicated Canadian government information in secure dispersed locations including British Columbia.

The CGI-DPN web archive includes copies of the Depository Services Program E-collection, at-risk government websites of all jurisdictions (federal, provincial, municipal) as well as thematic collections. UBC is a LOCKSS node for the CGI-DPN and participates in curating various collections for the project. The collections are all available via https://archive-it.org/organizations/700

Municipal government collection

Along with archiving federal websites, we have also partnered with Simon Fraser University and the University of Victoria to capture local municipal content. UBC Library archived 132 municipal websites which are hosted on the University of Victoria’s British Columbia Local Governments Archive-it collection.

One of the benefits of archiving sites and curating a collection is that the content is all located in one area. Some cities, like the City of Vancouver, archive their own web domain but a researcher would have to visit each site as opposed to viewing all the collections in one account and in some cases these municipalities view archiving purely as preservation and keep their collections “dark” and not open to the public.


The challenges of web archiving government content include copyright issues as well the necessity of working in an agile environment. Copyright for government websites varies from province to province as each province and territory interprets crown copyright differently. Some governments allow their domains to be archived while others do not; the Province of British Columbia is one that does not allow their site to be archived.

Websites can come down very quickly and sometimes we only have hours or days to capture this content. Working collaboratively with other institutions across British Columbia and Canada has allowed us to preserve material that would have otherwise disappeared forever.

Current government collections we are actively engaged in archiving include the BC local government elections, impacts of the legalization of marijuana, and Vancouver’s recently announced rapid transit projects.

We always welcome suggestions, so if you have any ideas for government collections please fill out our web archiving proposal form!  https://digitize.library.ubc.ca/work/

By Susan Paterson, Government Publications Librarian

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

UBC Library





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