hands typing on computers showing multiple media streams

“We’re trying to make the complex appear simple,” says Tara Stephens-Kyte, a Digital Repository Librarian at cIRcle who knows exactly how much work goes on behind-the-scenes at UBC’s institutional repository to create that seamless experience for content creators.

What started as a pilot project in 2007, has become the central digital archive for published and unpublished works of scholarly research and open educational materials created by members of the UBC community and its partners. While cIRcle is a technology-driven unit within UBC Library, relying on open source software like DSpace and other automated tools like Archivematica to preserve their collections, the work is undoubtedly people-focused as the human services provided by the team are key to its success.

The small team, which includes Stephens-Kyte, Digital Repository Librarian Amber Saundry and Digital Repository Specialist Kelly Gauvin, means each member wears many hats. Together, they offer one-on-one support to UBC researchers and others who opt to deposit their scholarly outputs in cIRcle.

“We’re trying to make it easy for people to access the content and to also provide a holistic search experience for the library’s digital collections,” says Stephens-Kyte, noting that for their mediated deposit service, they do a lot of consults with content creators on metadata standards and licensing. “For some people, that’s the first time they’ve ever really thought about the ownership of their content. And a lot of that conversation comes in the context of us asking for permission to distribute the content, and thinking about where that content lives and what happens with it once a project is done.”

This academic year especially, the work at cIRcle has not only increased but taken on a new level of importance for UBC faculty, staff and students. As conferences were cancelled starting in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, Stephens-Kyte notes that there was an increased uptake in deposit submissions as there was now an abundance of research activity that suddenly had no outlet: “Now, I think it’s more about people coming to terms with the idea that there may be more permanent changes to the way that we do research, talk about research and connect.”

According to their Impact and Activity Report for 2019/20, cIRcle celebrated a major milestone with 70k open access items now available in their collections. Notably, faculty deposits have been increasing year-over-year, with more than 2.3k deposits of faculty, researcher and postdoctoral materials in the past fiscal year alone.

But it’s the community-partner projects that cIRcle has supported this year that signal real change, like the Downtown Eastside Research Access Portal (DTES RAP), which launched in October as a collaboration led by the Making Research Accessible initiative (MRAi), a partnership between the UBC Learning Exchange and UBC Library’s Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.

“We expanded our acquisition policies to support that,” notes Stephens-Kyte. “It’s a project of such local significance, it’s so important to our community and the work that UBC does. So to me, that’s the kind of work that I think an open access repository can really foster, support and encourage.”

Learn more about adding scholarly content to cIRcle by visiting their website.

This project is part of UBC Library’s strategic direction to inspire with innovative spaces and services.

Learn more about our Strategic Framework.

Experience history and #BeautifulBC at the tip of your pencil crayons with our new digital colouring book that doubles as a calendar. Celebrate #ColorOurCollections week with UBC Library's 'B.C. Historical Books' themed digital colouring book.

The Scholarly Communications and Copyright Office, the Digitization Centre, and cIRcle have each published their Impact and Activity Reports for the 2019/2020 fiscal year. Each report showcases some of the year’s highlights and accomplishments within Digital Initiatives.

The Digital Initiatives Unit is a key part of UBC Library’s effort to adapt to the evolving needs of faculty and students and to support teaching, research and learning at UBC. Access the reports online below.

Scholarly Communications and Copyright Office Impact Report 2019-2020

UBC Library’s Scholarly Communications & Copyright Office (SCCO) supports the UBC community in applying the University’s copyright guidelines and navigating new developments in scholarly publishing. To this end, the SCCO provides a range of services to support UBC faculty, staff and students in the preparation of their course materials, presentations, and publications.

The Digitization Centre Impact Report 2019-2020

The UBC Library Digitization Centre embraces new technologies, methods of access, workflows and preservation strategies while building sustainable digital collections to support and enrich the educational, cultural and economic endeavors of the University, the people of British Columbia and communities beyond.

cIRcle Impact & Activity Report 2019-2020

cIRcle aims to showcase and preserve UBC’s unique intellectual output by making published and unpublished research material openly available to anyone anywhere via the web.

It was October 2019 and the first round of Open Educational Resources Fund grants hadn’t yet been awarded, but Erin Fields, Open Education and Scholarly Communications Librarian, and her student team were ready to get started with Open Education Resource (OER) publishing.

“[That project] was a really great test case for us to figure out what kind of support a faculty member would need to go from some Word documents with content to an actual published text,” recalls Erin Fields, Open Education and Scholarly Communications Librarian.

Erin Fields, Open Education and Scholarly Communications Librarian at UBC Library.

Creating an open text is no simple task, but for some faculty and instructors, it’s the best solution when the resources they need for their courses don’t exist.

“We just could not find [a text] that really fit the objectives or the spirit of my course. So, rather than giving students a stack of references to sift through, I decided to develop my own textbook,” says Dr. Chelsea Himsworth, Assistant Professor at the UBC School of Population and Public Health and lead author of  The Mission, the Message, and the Medium: Science and Risk Communication in a Complex World. “When I saw how much the students loved the textbook I was hooked! So I went back to the library so I could get the training and mentorship I needed to expand and improve the textbook on an ongoing basis. The library also opened my eyes to the world of OER. This led me to a successful grant application to improve my text and prep it for public offering.”

Amanda Grey, Open Education Student Librarian at UBC Library.

Fields’ student team helps faculty and instructors through the entire phased process, helping with copyright standards, Creative Commons licensing, metadata, and more using PressBooks as their online publishing platform, with access provided by BCcampus.

Since then, the library has created a catalogue of open texts from UBC, ranging in subject matter from chemistry to French language studies. Working alongside Fields, Open Education Student Librarian Amanda Grey has played a large role in the success of the open textbook initiative and handles much of the daily support for the library’s PressBooks projects.

“Erin and Amanda are amazing professionals. They were always accessible via Zoom and email,” says Dr. Somayeh Kamranian, Sessional Instructor in the UBC Department of French, Hispanic and Italian Studies and lead author of Let’s Read French Books. “They were present, in all the aspects of creation of this textbook.”

With most UBC classes now online, the demand for Open Educational Resources has only increased, along with an appetite for collaborative projects. Laboratory Manual for Introduction to Physical, First British Columbia Edition involved faculty and subject matter experts from UBC Vancouver, UBC Okanagan, Simon Fraser University, Capilano University, for use in first year physical geography courses.

“It was a fantastic example of what you can do across institutions when you work together,” says Fields, adding that it also illustrated how open education can support instructors engaged in remote learning.

For those considering the plunge into Open Education Resource (OER) publishing, UBC Library has plenty of resources available including The Open Textbook Publishing Guide, as well as two upcoming webinars that introduce participants to the open text publishing process. Faculty and instructors interested in booking a consultation can contact Erin Fields (erin.fields@ubc.ca) for more information.

This project is part of UBC Library’s strategic direction to inspire with innovative spaces and services.

Learn more about our Strategic Framework.

Experience history at the tip of your pencil crayons and celebrate #ColorOurCollections week with UBC Library's 'Maps and Landscapes' themed digital colouring book series.
Experience history at the tip of your pencil crayons with our new 'Maps and Landscapes' themed digital colouring book series.


One hundred and six years of British Columbia’s governmental papers are now available to anyone with a wifi connection and a device. The British Columbia Sessional Papers, an annual collection of selected papers tabled in the Legislative Council of British Columbia and the Legislative Assembly is now publicly accessible through UBC Library’s Open Collections.

The collection contains materials that document the political, historical, economic and cultural history of British Columbia and includes official committee reports, orders of the day, petitions and papers presented, records of land sales, correspondence, budgetary estimates, proclamations, maps, voters lists by district, and departmental annual reports.

The multi-year project began as a collaborative endeavor in 2014 executed by five provincial institutions, collectively known as the BC Government Publications Digitization Group. The group made up of representatives from UBC, the Legislative Library of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, the University of Victoria and the University of Northern British Columbia aims to increase access to primary source materials.  The project was then carried out by UBC Library thanks to a grant from The British Columbia History Digitization Program and materials provided by the Legislative Library of British Columbia.

Improved accessibility facilitates research

The collection, which now includes over 4,000 items in total, highlights the cultural, economic, social and political atmosphere of their historical era and are being used for research in multiple fields.

“Annual reports within the Sessional Papers have helped answer reference questions about the history of public schools in British Columbia, road and infrastructure policies of the 1940s and 1950s and relations with the provincial government and First Nations Peoples,” notes Susan Paterson, Government Publications Librarian at UBC Library. “The project has also been used by researchers outside of UBC including Canadian federal departments, law firms, and independent researchers.” Digital Projects Librarian Eirian Vining confirms the relevance of these papers to broader researchers: “We also see a lot of genealogists using these materials because of the voter lists contained within them.”

Andrea Lister, Editor of British Columbia History Magazine uses the records regularly for fact-checking and appreciates the increased accessibility, “The collection allows researchers, regardless of location, access to records that allow for analysis of the political, historical, economic, and cultural history of British Columbia.”

An eye to preservation

The project has also enabled UBC Library to better preserve the collection. “This collection is not easily browsed,” says Vining, “So, now it can be accessed more frequently and more widely without the worry of wear and tear.”

The collection is well-used with more than 17,000 item downloads and more than 860K item views since its launch and is being used by researchers globally including France, the U.S., Germany, China, Russia and the Ukraine.

Explore the British Columbia Sessional Papers collection through UBC Library’s Open Collections. 

Digital Repository Librarian

Digital Initiatives, UBC Library | Vancouver Campus

Full-Time, One-Year Term

Anticipated Start Date: March 1, 2019 


The University of British Columbia Library is one of the largest academic libraries in Canada providing access to a collection of over 7M items. UBC Library has 14 branches and divisions on two campuses (Vancouver and Kelowna), including one off-site hospital library and the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre – a multi-purpose teaching and learning facility.

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 2015-2017 can be viewed at http://about.library.ubc.ca/strategic-plan/  To learn more about working with UBC Library and to explore our aspirational values visit UBC Library – Why work with us. 


The Digital Repository Librarian is responsible for developing, supporting, and assessing content 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. May hire and supervise student employees.



  • 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.
  • Ability to recognize, respect and work effectively with individuals and groups with diverse perspectives and backgrounds. Takes initiative in learning about language and issues relating to equity and diversity.
  • Ability to develop and maintain cooperative and productive working relationships and engage in workplace culture.
  • Ability to recognize and appreciate the contributions of colleagues.
  • Committed to demonstrating respect for colleagues at every level by trusting in their abilities and knowledge to perform their roles and earning respect through meeting commitments.
  • Models and demonstrates good communication through active listening and appreciative inquiry and open to providing and receiving timely, constructive feedback.
  • Listens to, encourages and expresses creative and innovative ideas. Open to experiment and improvise with new ways of approaching processes, tasks or problems.


  • 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.


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.


  • Collaborates with reference librarians and faculty to recruit content that falls within the cIRcle acquisition policy.
  • Manages content recruitment projects and content management workflows.
  • 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.
  • Develops project and workflow schedules, overseeing copyright and license management workflows, and creating training materials and procedural documentation.
  • Coordinates educational efforts with other library units and delivers internal and external presentations to build awareness and confidence in repository services.
  • Develops, refines and applies assessment criteria for the digital repository.
  • Collaborates with IT and DPS to maintain digital preservation program.
  • Promotes cIRcle and open access both on and off campus.
  • Manages the implementation, customization and troubleshooting of repository software.
  • 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.
  • Undertakes and assists with projects and initiatives aimed at the enhancement and expansion of repository and related services.
  • Coordinates reporting of software problems, specification of software customizations and upgrades, and software testing.
  • Performs system administrator functions in the cIRcle database (currently using DSpace).
  • Develops and maintains content for the cIRcle web site.
  • Participates in library committees and works on special projects as assigned.
  • Supervises staff and student employees as required.

The nature and scope of the responsibilities for this position is expected to change as the Library organization and digital repository services evolve. 


This position is a full-time, term appointment for one year.

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

Equity and diversity are essential to academic excellence. An open and diverse community fosters the inclusion of voices that have been underrepresented or discouraged. We encourage applications from members of groups that have been marginalized on any grounds enumerated under the B.C. Human Rights Code, including sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, racialization, disability, political belief, religion, marital or family status, age, and/or status as a First Nation, Metis, Inuit, or Indigenous person. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.

Applications will include: a detailed and current curriculum vitae; and 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.  

To view the complete job description and to submit an application, please visit the UBC Careers page at http://www.hr.ubc.ca/careers-postings/faculty.php by midnight on January 21, 2018.

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