Digital archives like these are changing the parameters of what’s possible in research while improving accessibility.


UBC Library users now have access to the full digital archives of two of Canada’s major publications: Maclean’s Magazine and the Toronto Star newspaper.

Maclean’s Magazine

Maclean’s, Canada’s leading news and general interest magazine, debuted in 1905 and was founded as a “medium through which Canadians could write and hear about Canadian affairs, Canadian attitudes and Canadian traditions”. Its content is especially relevant to those researching current events, gender issues, politics and culture, the history of business and advertising in the 20th Century. The archive Includes 3,400 issues with more than 100,000 stories by some of Canada’s greatest writers and journalists including Pierre Berton, June Callwood, Peter Newman, Mordecai Richler and Peter Gzowski.  All the content (including covers and advertisements) is fully searchable.

Explore the Maclean’s Magazine archive.

The Toronto Star

The Toronto Star, Canada’s highest-circulation newspaper, was established in 1892 and, during its early years, reflected a highly-personal style of journalism emphasizing human interest and local affairs. It was an advocate of social causes such as the welfare state, old age pensions, unemployment insurance and health care, making it a major influence on the development of public policy.

“The Star is the most socially-liberal of Canada’s major newspapers,” says Keith Bunnell, Reference and Collections Librarian, Humanities & Social Sciences Division, “This acquisition provides a nice complement to the digital archives of the Globe and Mail to which UBC Library users already have access.”

The archive provides full text access to the Toronto Star from 1894 to 2016 and includes editorial and opinion pieces, advertisements, want ads, birth and death notices and even cartoons in addition to news stories. Users can search for keywords, phrases and subjects and cite search results in numerous citation styles, save in multiple document formats, save searches, and export documents to reference management tools.

Explore the Toronto Star archive.

Digital archives are changing what is possible in research

According to Dr. Laura Ishiguro, Assistant Professor in UBC’s Department of History, “When you’re working with a physical source like this in an archive or on microfilm, you’re browsing ¾ you’re reading the whole periodical,” says Ishiguro, “Digitized collections still allow you to browse like this, but their search capabilities also allow you to drop down quickly into particular topics and issues that come up over longer periods of time that otherwise might have taken months or years to identify. They are changing the kinds of research questions we can ask.”

Digital archives like these also make resources increasingly accessible. “Digital archives are really essential for researchers who are not based close to archives, including our students who live all across the region and can’t always make it to campus to do research,” she says, “It also improves access for researchers who have chronic illness or have childcare responsibilities at home, for example, and might not be able to do extended trips to archives regularly.”

Explore the many digital periodical archives available through UBC Library.

The Open Library of Humanities is pleased to announce that the University of British Columbia Library has joined their Library Partnership Subsidy system (November 18, 2016).

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