Way back in January UBC Library scored a rare book coup, acquiring two exceptional examples of early gay literature that share a connection with famed Victorian writer Oscar Wilde.

Teleny and its prequel, Des Grieux, were first published in the 1890s. It’s long been suspected, but never confirmed, that Wilde may have authored or contributed to the texts.

cdm.specialp.1-0229461.0009,cdm.specialp.1-0229461.0010_full

Click here to see Des Grieux.

cdm.specialp.1-0229462.0003,cdm.specialp.1-0229462.0004_full

Click here to see Teleny.

Now both of these texts are available for online study and access through Open Collections. (But be aware before you click- this literature is a bit racy – don’t let anyone ever tell you the library isn’t exciting!)

“Even if Wilde didn’t write them, the speculation is still a fascinating part of his enduring mythology,” said Gregory Mackie, Assistant Professor in UBC’s Dept. of English.

Only five known sets of the two-volume publication Teleny remain, and there are only three known copies of Des Grieux. UBC is the only collection in the world with both texts- and now you can see them too!

bible1

We’ve got another new (but actually really really old) addition to our digital collection. We’re excited to share that we have digitized a rare Latin Bible from the 13th century! You can check it out in out Western Manuscripts collection where many of our oldest books live.

 

bible2

The pages are made from vellum or dried calf skin as most books were at that time.

This Bible is an amazing addition to our collection for a few reasons. First, it was a Student Bible made in Oxford England around 1250 AD, something that at the time was pretty remarkable. Back then most Student Bibles were produced on the continent, typically in Paris, for university pupils and professors who used them for their studies. This makes our Bible unique – and the only one like it in a Canadian collection.

bible5

This book contains a fair amount of marginalia! Check out all the faded notes on the side.

A second special aspect of this Bible is the concordance at the end of the book. The concordance, pictured below, is an index created for the Bible on where to find certain words or phrases within the book.

bibile3

Click here to see the concordance for yourself!

One of the early owners created this concordance shortly after the book was finished. The concordance is obviously not part of the original book. We don’t know exactly when or who created it – and if any of you scholars out there want to try to find out, take a shot and let us know about it! We wholeheartedly support you!

Even you are not a scholar take a look at the book for yourself, or take a look at the UBC press release on this book. It might make you into a bibliophile!

Digitization of BC Sessional Papers, from 1933-1952,
 is on its way.

Phase 3 of Sessional Papers has been approved and digitization will start this summer! This phase will look at 41 bound volumes from the British Columbia Sessional Papers. It will increase our current collection by 19 years – and as an added bonus there will be fold out maps and charts to check out.

cdm.bcsessional.1-0064155.0002full

More maps like this are coming to you soon!

The Sessional Papers are important provincial legislative documents that capture the economical, historical, political, and cultural atmosphere of British Columbia history. The Sessional Papers include 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.

cdm.bcsessional.1-0062893.0000full

There’s tons of historical content! – For a belated celebration of International Women’s Day – Sessional papers has women petitioning for the vote in Canada

Click here to visit our digital collections page to view the volumes we have digitized.

Click here to read more about what sessional papers are and how they can be utilized for research.

cdm.bcsessional.1-0061315.0000full

Right now digitized content in Sessional Papers runs from 1878 to 1931

cdm.bcsessional.1-0059851.0012full

You can find all sorts of things in Sessional Papers – take a look now and keep your eyes peeled for more coming soon!

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.

questing

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.

moon

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?

ladyknight

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.

cdm.manuscripts.1-0223847.0159,cdm.manuscripts.1-0223847.0160_full

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!

This week we are going give you a sneak preview of one of the coolest new machines coming soon to the Digital Initiatives, and even better a new collection we are partnering with Woodward Library!

The machine sounds about as futuristic as it gets—a 3D imager. But not to worry, it is far from HAL territory.

IMG_0806

The imager is made up of small tent, turntable, some light boxes, an image program, a Canon EOS camera.

Currently the 3D imager is being used to digitize the Memorial Artifact Collection at Woodward. The collections of 450 medical artifacts are from mainly the 19th and 20th centuries (though there are a few from as early as the the 18th century and as last as the 21st century). People from the British Columbia area, including retiring doctors and antiques collectors, donated the bulk of the collection. The items range from brass microscopes, to cough syrup bottles – with cough syrup still in them, to electroshock therapy machines

 

 

 

IMG_0810 IMG_20151127_133902

Check out one of the first items to be digitized: a Whitehead mouth gag. It was once used to hold patient’s mouths open during mouth examinations. The camera snaps each item as it rotates on the table 16 times.

It allows for cool gif’s like this! [here’s hoping this works on wordpress]

MouthGag_Whitehead

 

IMG_0805

Having a bit of fun! We hope you are too!

 

Made in partnership with Rare Books and Special Collections and the From Stone to Screen project, the cuneiform tablets are among the most ancient objects Digital Initiatives has ever digitized! The tablets are part of Ancient Artefacts collection, which also includes Egyptian papyri.

Receipt by a temple official of “one sheep and one lamb on the thirteenth day of the month” for rent- Can you believe those prices?! Puts Vancouver to shame.

Considered today to be one of the most significant cultural contributions by the Sumerians, cuneiform is one of the earliest known systems of writing. The RBSC tablets were created during the 20th century BCE, between 2029 – 1973 BCE, over 4,000 years ago. Cuneiform translates to “wedge shaped” from the Latin word “cuneus” meaning wedge and refers to the shape of the writing. The marks were often made with a reed. It replaced the pictorial style of writing from the 31st century BCE to about the 1st century CE.

 

Another rental receipt – Rock receipts are starting to seem very handy- what if you get audited 1,000 years from now?

By the 2nd century CE the script had been replaced with Phoenician alphabet, and all knowledge of how to read the script was lost until the 19th century.

Most of the found cuneiform tablets have not been translated, as there are few qualified individuals in the world. Luckily here at UBC, we have qualified individuals willing to translate the ancient script. Today we can say they were written in Sumerian. Where they came from? That’s another story.

Determining the provenance is not easy and is sometimes impossible.

Provenance is a tricky thing especially when the items in question are thousands of years old. It’s made even trickier by people lying in order to give an object a history it doesn’t have, or even those with good intentions but inadequate or misleading information.

Which is exactly what happened with the history of these tablets. Want to know the misinformation, lies, and mysterious history behind these tablets? Stay tuned for Part 2 next week!

 

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

UBC Library

Info:

604.822.6375

Renewals: 

604.822.3115
604.822.2883
250.807.9107

Emergency Procedures | Accessibility | Contact UBC | © Copyright The University of British Columbia

Spam prevention powered by Akismet