Did you know that, in 1998, the Public Knowledge Project (PKP) was founded by John Willinsky in the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia (UBC)? Its aim was and still is today to “improv[e] the scholarly and public quality of research”.

UBC “support[s] scholarly pursuits that contribute to knowledge and understanding within and across disciplines and seek[s] every opportunity to share them broadly” as outlined in the From UBC’s Place and Promise Strategic Plan and echoed in the Library’s Strategic Framework. Discover why PKP is a critical platform in open scholarly communications infrastructure via Digital Programs and Services at UBC Library.


Read the Library’s full PKP blog post


Explore Open Journals Systems (OJS)


Find out more about Open UBC



As we head into final exams, the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre will stay open longer to accommodate students and their study schedules. The Learning Centre will be open 24 hours a day from Monday, December 2 (opening at 6 a.m.) to Friday, December 13 (closing at 1 a.m.).
UBC Library hosts exhibit honouring Vancouver icon John Fluevog. The exhibit, located in the David Lam Management Research Library and Level 2 of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre runs until the end of the year.



Introduced as a new service to help UBC Vancouver faculty meet Canadian copyright law and Fair Dealing Requirements, the syllabus service provides them with the ability to upload their course readings/syllabi directly into the Library Online Course Reserves system (LOCR), part of the Canvas Learning Management Platform at UBC. It ensures that course materials uphold Canadian copyright law and UBC license agreements and policies.

Copyright infringement, through the distribution of published works to students, unfortunately exposes the University and its faculty to legal jeopardy thus the Library is making copyright compliance as feasible and streamlined as possible for UBC faculty and students.

“We continue to take every possible step to support faculty in their teaching efforts, and ensure they remain knowledgeable and compliant with Canadian copyright law,” says Allan Bell, Associate University Librarian, Digital Programs and Services.


Read the full Library announcement


Explore Copyright Requirements for UBC Faculty and Staff


Discover Mediated Course Reserves at UBCO


Learn more about Scholarly Communications @ UBC






News Release from Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL): 


The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) endorses open education in view of the clear social and economic benefits it brings to the higher education sector and to society. CARL believes that the mission of universities is to create and disseminate knowledge, and that an open scholarship system that is accessible to all readers offers the surest path towards positively impacting human life on all parts of the globe. CARL further believes that opening all forms of scholarship to wide scrutiny enhances quality, increases accountability and promotes collaboration – thus leading to higher visibility and impact. Open education practices align well with these principles, as they reduce barriers to education, leverage technology to improve teaching and learning, and can result in high quality learning experiences.


But open education also relies heavily on the participation of a variety of important players, including instructional designers, web developers, graphic designers, librarians, and other professionals within libraries and teaching and learning centres.


Visit the CARL website for details


Discover the UBC Vancouver OER Fund


Learn about Open Access at UBC


Explore Open Scholarship at UBC





Many thanks to guest blogger James Goldie for contributing the below post! James is a graduate student at UBC’s iSchool (School of Library, Archival and Information Studies) and is currently working as a student archivist with Rare Books and Special Collections.

“They also serve:” A. Alexis Alvey and the navy’s first female service members

Unit Officer A. Alexis Alvey of the W.R.C.N.S.

Her mother calls her “the Canadian lieutenant” and the girls in the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service call her “Chiefie”…

So begins a 1943 Royal Canadian Navy press release announcing the promotion of Lieutenant Amelia Alexis Alvey to Unit Officer at H.M.C.S. Stadacona, a rank equivalent to that of an army captain. This new position – granted just a year after she first enlisted – meant Alvey was in charge of more than 1,100 Halifax-based service members from the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service (WRCNS), known as Wrens. More than a third of all Wrens were stationed at H.M.C.S. Stadacona in Halifax.

Alvey (who went by A. Alexis Alvey) was born November 22, 1903 in Seattle, Washington. After completing her undergraduate studies in New York, Alvey studied science at McMaster University (1932-1933) and went on to work as chief photographic technician at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine. It was during this period she gained Canadian citizenship. After the outbreak of World War II, Alvey helped organize the businesswomen’s company of the Toronto Red Cross Transport Corps and commanded it for two years. She had also served as lecturer to the entire Transport Corps for Military Law, Map Reading, and Military and Naval Insignia.

Recruitment advertisements ran in magazines throughout Canada from 1942-1944, reminding readers that women could now serve in the navy as part of the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service.

Men Can’t Do It Alone

In 1942, top brass in the Canadian navy realized they could not solely rely on men in their fight against Hitler’s forces. They contacted the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS) in London requesting assistance in the formation of a Canadian counterpart. “Please send us a Mother Wren,” they said, according to Alvey. Those “mother wrens” were Joan Carpenter and Dorothy Isherwood, who came to Canada and established the WRCNS later that year. Alvey was among the first to enlist.

Until then, the Canadian navy had been an all-male service. As one member wrote in 1943: until the establishment of the WRCNS, “ships and shore establishments alike were manned by men, and knitting seamen’s stockings, or collecting magazines, games and special parcels for ships’ crews at sea was about the limit of any contribution made by women.”

Women were not permitted to serve in combat roles, however, they took over the navy’s on-land operations, which freed up male service members to join battles at sea. The Wrens worked as signallers, wireless-telegraphers, writers, information and intelligence workers, postal clerks, research assistants, cooks, stewards, wardroom attendants, laundry assistants, and more.

Rising Through The Ranks

A. Alexis Alvey (far right) with fellow “Wrens” at the W.R.C.N.S. training centre in Galt, Ontario.

In her first year with the WRCNS Alvey was appointed acting Chief Petty Officer Master-at-Arms. Her other assignments included duty as Deputy Unit Officer H.M.C.S. Bytown (Ottawa), duty with the Commanding Officer Pacific Coast H.M.C.S. Burrard (Vancouver), assignment as Unit Officer, Lieutenant H.M.C.S. Bytown, and finally Unit Officer to H.M.C.S. Stadacona (Halifax). She was responsible for training and running practice drills, developing policies, and meeting with officers from ships that arrived in Halifax.

She served with the WRCNS from August 1942 to January 1945.

The A. Alexis Alvey Fonds

After the war, Alvey returned to her home city of Seattle where she worked as a librarian at the University of Washington. However, she never forgot her time with the WRCNS. For the rest of her life, Alvey organized and attended Wrens reunions, she wrote articles and histories about the service, and collected all manner of documents, memorabilia, and ephemera related to the “The Women’s Navy” as it was sometimes called.

The Royal Canadian Navy’s certificates of service were designed with only male service members in mind.

These records along with Alvey’s personal papers and an extensive collection of photographs are housed at UBC’s Rare Books and Special Collections and are available for research.

The materials that make up the A. Alexis Alvey fonds express the profound sense of pride shared by Alvey and her fellow Wrens with respect to their years of military service. An essay commemorating the WRCNS silver anniversary by Isabelle NcNair (née Archer) captures this pride. In it, a grandmother tells her granddaughter the story of the Wrens. “But Grannie, I thought Grandad won the war,” asks the child.  “No dear,” responds her elder, “I did.”


Image courtesy of Pixabay



Open Access

We Support the UNESCO Recommendation on OER

The role of preprints in research dissemination

A young researcher’s guide to open access publishing


Open Access Week 2019

Plan S compliance for Open Access Journals – what we know so far and where we think we’re heading

NOTE: See also Recordings: LINK and Slides: PDF on SlideShare

“Flipping” to (more) open when you’re already open

Preprints and the long and winding road to Open Access

Open and Engaged: Open Access Week at the British Library

Taking the Long View of Open Access


Open Data

The State of Open Data Report 2019


Open Education

For the Edtech Innovation Today’s Learners Need, Look Not to Companies, But to Campuses

Reaping the benefits of Open Data in public health



SPARC Landscape Analysis

Canadian Science Publishing – Open A Conversation Q&A series for Open Access Week with Dr. Alana Westwood

JHU Press celebrates International Open Access Week by publishing 100 OA books

Call for Submissions: Innovations in Open



Open Access Week at UBC

Ongoing Adoption – Estimating, Calculating, and Tracking

BCcampus heads to #OpenEd19

AMS Open Champions Celebration

2019 OER Faculty Panel Roundup

Open, Equitable, Affordable, and Transparent: Progress on the Road to True Open Access: A Talk by Ginny Steel

Can we Decolonize Open? An Open Access Week Event presented by Langara, Kwantlen, BCIT, SFU, and UBC



Many thanks to guest blogger Alvionne Gardner-Harrison for contributing the below post! Alvionne is a graduate student at UBC’s iSchool (School of Library, Archival and Information Studies) and is currently working with UBC Library’s W.C. Gibson History of Science and Medicine Collection as a professional experience project.

An Ocean of Knowledge, a Sea of Books: The Ocean and its Inhabitants in the W.C. Gibson History of Science and Medicine Collection

For Science Literacy Week 2019, one of the exhibits shared by Rare Books and Special Collections focused on materials from the W.C. Gibson History of Science and Medicine collection. With exhibit items ranging from sea otters on book-bindings to hand-painted seaweed fronds, and from the earliest studies in microscopy to guides for hobbyist naturalists, “An Ocean of Knowledge, a Sea of Books” gives some historical background to the ocean science highlighted in this year’s Science Literacy Week theme.

The exhibit of European scientific literature and illustration from the 17th-19th century explores representations of oceanic life and the techniques and technologies that were used to gather, organize, and distribute information about oceanic organisms. For much of the history of science that the W.C. Gibson collection documents, manuscripts and printed books were the main format in which new scientific observations and ideas were disseminated. The physical qualities of organisms such as fish, molluscs, and sea mammals that were encountered on colonial scientific expeditions, could best be preserved through detailed illustrations that were then reproduced in copperplate and sometimes coloured by hand. These striking images, organized according to new taxonomic systems like that of Linnaeus, were distributed in books such as those in this exhibit. The books included in the exhibit’s cases, some of which are featured below, highlight both ocean science and scientific literacy prior to the 20th century.

Microscopy, Taxonomy, and Colonial Voyages

Significant advances in technology, both intellectual and material, were required for European scientists to systematically study oceanic organisms, as was the expansion of colonial voyages. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek and Robert Hooke contributed to the nascent biological sciences through their development of microscopes and their demonstration of how they could be used to study microscopic organisms and the structures within larger organisms.

  • Hooke, Robert. Micrographia (1665). [QH271 .H79 1665]
  • Leeuwenhoek, Antoni van. Vervolg der brieven (1704). [QH41 .L4393]
  • Mantell, Gideon Algernon. Thoughts on animalcules: or, A glimpse of the invisible world revealed by the microscope (1846). [QL365 .M35 1846]

Snow, In forbidden seas. [F5817.S3 S6].

Taxonomic systems enabled naturalists to organise newly discovered (and previously known) life forms into meaningful categories and to better understand them. Encountering unfamiliar varieties of oceanic animals and plants required journeying abroad. This usually took place in the context of voyages on merchant ships; “discovery” was funded and enabled by the processes of capitalism and colonialism.

  • Pennant, Thomas. Arctic Zoology, II (1784). [QL105 .P4]
  • Linné, Carl von. Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines (1767). [QH43 .S9 1767]

The Material Science Book

The physical descriptions of organisms that were encountered on both local and colonial scientific expeditions could be communicated most effectively through detailed illustrations. These images were then reproduced as prints which were made from copperplate engravings, and which could be easily shared throughout the scientific community. In the 19th century, these illustrations were also widely printed in less expensive—but often beautifully bound—books for the general public, who enthusiastically engaged in early popular science.

  • Gosse, Philip Henry. A history of the British sea-anemones and corals: with coloured figures of the species and principal varieties (1860). [QL377.C7 G67 1860]
  • Adams, Henry Gardiner. Beautiful shells: their nature, structure, and uses familiarly explained, with directions for collection, cleaning, and arranging them in the cabinet and descriptions of the most remarkable species (1871). [QL405 .A33 1871]
  • Recent polar voyages: a record of discovery and adventure from the search after Franklin to the British polar expedition, 1875-76 (1877). [G625 .R35]

Hamilton, The natural history of the amphibious carnivora. [QL737.P6 H2 1839]

Mechanized reproduction of images reduced costs, but some book buyers still chose to have illustrations hand-painted with striking colour on top of the printed images, such as the unusually large seaweed pictured in The botany of the Antarctic voyage of H. M. discovery ships Erebus and Terror.

  • Hooker, Joseph Dalton. The botany of the Antarctic voyage of H. M. discovery ships Erebus and Terror, in the years 1839-1843, under the command of Captain Sir James Clark Ross (1844). [QK5 .E6 1844]

Inconceivable Ichthyology

This case featured examples of illustrations depicting fishes identified and illustrated during global voyages of exploration and organized according to the binomial nomenclature of Linnaeus.

  • Richardson, John. Ichthyology of the voyage of H.M.S. Erebus & Terror, under the command of Captain Sir James Clark Ross (1844). [QL636 .R52]
  • Schomburgk, Robert Hermann. Natural history of the fishes of Guiana (1843). [QL632.A3 B8 1843]
  • Bennett, James William. A selection of rare and curious fishes found upon the coast of Ceylon: from drawings made in that island, and coloured from life, with letter-press descriptions (1851). [QL634.C3 B4 1851]
  • Fries, Bengt Fredrik. A History of Scandinavian Fishes, Vol. II (1893). [QL633.S22 F74 1893 v.2]

From “Sea Monsters” to Seals

In addition to an extensive selection of books on fishes, the Gibson collection includes scientific materials on aquatic plants, molluscs, seabirds, and sea mammals, among other groups of organisms recognized during the 19th century.

  • Sowerby, George Brettingham. Genera of recent and fossil shells (1820). [QL 404 S 68]

Dewhurst, The natural history of the order cetacea. [QL737.C4 D5 1834].

Of particular note are books containing illustrations of cetaceans, a group which includes whales, and of various types of seals. These sea mammals were not only of interest from a scientific perspective; increasing awareness of their physical properties and habits improved the effectiveness and efficiency of organized hunting. The object of this was to convert these animals’ bodies into fuel and luxury goods, an effort that was often too successful to be sustainable in the long term. Some sea mammal populations remain subject to conservation efforts today as a result of this hunting.

  • Dewhurst, Henry William. The natural history of the order cetacea, and the oceanic inhabitants of the Arctic regions (1834). [QL737.C4 D5 1834]
  • Hamilton, Robert. The natural history of the amphibious carnivora, including the walrus and seals, also of the herbivorous cetacea. [QL737.P6 H2 1839]
  • Snow, Henry James. In forbidden seas: Recollections of sea-otter hunting in the Kurils (1910). [F5817.S3 S6]
The B.C. History Digitization Program (BCHDP) is now accepting submissions for project funding. The program, launched by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre in 2006, provides matching funds to support projects that make unique British Columbia content freely available. Applications are due by Monday, December 16, 2019.
In this talk, Professor Annie Chen will present an overview of health-related online communities and social networks, and the ways in which they can assist patients in health management.

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