BC History Digitization Program – 2007 Projects

In September 2006, the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre at the University of British Columbia Library announced the BC History Digitization Program. The focus of the program is to promote increased access to British Columbia’s historical resources, including providing matching funds to undertake digitization projects that will result in free online access to our unique provincial historical material. Below is a list of successful applicants for 2007.


Project Title: UBCIC History Online
Organization: Union of BC Indian Chiefs Resource Centre
Amount funded: $15,000Description: This project digitized a variety of multimedia materials produced during and related to the establishment and early years of the UBCIC, 1969-1979. Materials include an early run of the UBCIC’s newsletter, audio and video records, photographs, graphic materials, and textual documents. The newsletter collection documents the activities and history of the UBCIC and other First Nations groups in British Columbia during an era that tends to be overlooked in most approaches to the study of First Nations culture and history. In addition to the newsletters, other textual include position and policy papers, transcriptions of speeches, and biographical information. These materials illustrate the relationships between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians. Statements of and positions taken by the chiefs and community members have immense significance for Aboriginal people in British Columbia.UBCIC Digital Collections
Project Title: Prince George Newspapers
Organization: Prince George Public Library
Amount funded: $15,000Description: The Prince George Newspaper Digitization Project is a collaboration of the Prince George Public Library, the College of New Caledonia Library (CNC), the Geoffrey R. Weller Library and the Northern BC Archives at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC). With the consent and support of the Prince George Citizen publisher, the collaborators digitized the microfilm of the Prince George Citizen and three early newspapers beginning in 1910. Whether researchers are looking for information on forestry, mining, resource development or searching family or legal matters, this newspaper database is an effective and efficient way to access valuable information not found in books or other documents.Prince George Newspapers Project
Project Title: Vancouver City Directories, 1860-1901
Organization: Vancouver Public Library
Amount funded: $10,453Description: The City Directories digitization project makes early BC directories available in a web-searchable format for users to access remotely as well as when in the library. These directories contain a variety of historically important information including: facts about BC communities (including population), listings of government offices and officials, operating newspapers, schools, libraries, advertisements, classified directories, specialized industry directories (in the early years) and directories of Vancouver and Victoria with listings under name as well as address, as well as name listings for towns throughout British Columbia. The information found in the directories provides wonderful historical snapshots of these communities at the time and because the directories were updated yearly, they also show the growth and development of the communities through time.British Columbia City Directories
Project Title: Indo-Canadian Oral History
Organization: Simon Fraser University Library and Archives
Amount funded: $15,000Description: This project digitized interviews conducted by Dr Hari Sharma, Professor of Sociology at SFU. The collection documents the histories of 37 immigrants from the Punjab Province of India who came to Canada between 1912 and 1938. The interview subjects, primarily Sikhs, discuss topics such as why they came to Canada, adjustment to Canadian society, family life, and their ongoing links with India. The digitized interviews are accompanied by English translations of the interviews. The project will enhance British Columbians’ knowledge of their multicultural history and contribute to our understanding of a large and important segment of BC’s population.Indo-Canadian Oral History Collection
Project Title: Northwood Photographic Images
Organization: Northern BC Archives, University of Northern British Columbia
Amount funded: $3,840Description:The Northern BC Archives digitized around 2100 slides created by Northwood Pulp & Timber Ltd. and make them accessible online. The slides document 35 years of natural resource industry activity by Northwood in the Central Interior of BC. The collection provides visual documentation of forestry conditions over a 35 year period which may act as a benchmark for documenting environmental change (landscape, forests) over time, and provides a visual documentary of natural resource extraction activity in the Central Interior, as well as an overview of the corporate activities of Northwood during its involvement in the industrial development of this region of the province.NBCA Northwood Photographs
Project Title: Demolished Residential Building Plans
Organization: City of Victoria Archives
Amount funded: $1,000Description: This project scanned and made web-accessible the City of Victoria Archives’ holdings of architectural plans of residential buildings that have been demolished. The holdings consist of 726 plans (of 468 individual buildings) ranging from 1907 to 1993 (predominantly 1907-1969). The material will be of interest to local, national, and international researchers interested in the history of Victoria’s domestic architecture.Demolished Residential Building Plans
Project Title: Evolution of Victoria, 1858-1912
Organization: University of Victoria Libraries
Amount funded: $4,652.64Description:This project provides researchers with online access to some of UVIC Library’s most significant materials relating to Victoria’s early history. These include 5 early hand-coloured maps, published 1855-1859; one rare book published by The Colonist, in 1891, which is full of contemporary illustrations and tables illustrating Victoria life, people, resources, industries and architecture; and one book of pioneer reminiscences about Victoria, published in 1912. It also includes six early tourist pamphlets of Victoria containing captioned early photographs of the city, Frank Sylvester’s diary (1874-1907), containing about 150 entries relating to contemporary life, travels and ships in Victoria during that period, six manuscripts of talks he gave to the Victoria Historical Society before 1908 about Victoria and his travel through the province in the 1850’s and 60’s, and records kept by Sylvester of his Alert Bay Cannery, 1888, and pamphlets and ephemera. BC historians, archaeologists, aboriginals, historical association members and members of the public will be interested in these never before digitized materials about early Victoria.Victoria’s Early History Collection
Project Title: Medical Artefact Digitization and Access Project
Organization: British Columbia Medical Association
Amount funded: $14,720Description: The museum’s holdings represent the largest collection in British Columbia devoted solely to the history of medicine in the province. The collection ranges from the earliest medical equipment used by pioneer physicians in the settlement of the province to the early adoption of modern medical technology. Approximately 520 items from the museum’s holdings will be photographed and images made available in QuickTime VR. QuickTime VR applicability will allow for online manipulation of images providing 360 degree views of selected objects. The digitized images will be useful to medical professionals, scholars, students of medicine and history, and to anyone interested in the development of medical practice and health care in the province.BCMA Medical Museum
Project Title: BC Packers Ltd Insurance Photos and Maps
Organization: City of Richmond Archives
Amount funded: $6,160Description: The City of Richmond Archives digitized photographs, insurance maps and site plans of BC Packers sites and properties (700 photos and 200 maps altogether). The records, dating from the 1920s through to the demolition of buildings on the Steveston site in 2001, demonstrate the impact of the fishing industry on the economic, social and environmental life of BC’s coastal communities. The images and maps are essential for a comprehensive historical understanding of land use and of the environmental and social impact of the fishing industry on the West coast, and together, they tell a graphic story of a once vibrant community.BC Packers Limited Insurance Collection
Project Title: Visual Records (historical photos)
Organization: Saanich Archives
Amount funded: $14,445Description: Saanich Archives has over 12,000 images documenting the early settlement of the Saanich area to the formation of the municipality and its subsequent development. Most aspects of life in Saanich from the 1880s to the 1980s are represented in this collection. For this project, the archives selected 2500 images that best illustrate the history of the municipality, resulting in research capability through the Internet for researchers outside the Greater Victoria area.Saanich Archives Photographs
Project Title: Hearing Hazelton History (oral histories)
Organization: Hazelton Area Historical Association
Amount funded: $3,100Description: HAHA’s collection policy focuses on material related to the geographic area in a 50 kilometre radius around Hazelton, BC. This includes the Village of Hazelton, the municipality of New Hazelton, the unincorporated communities of South Hazelton and Two Mile, six Gitksan villages, the Wet’suwet’en village of Hagwilget, as well as the Kitwanga Valley, the Kispiox Valley, the Suskwa Valley, and the Upper Skeena Valley. The project digitized audio tapes of personal interviews, narratives and life stories of various elders from the communities described above. The oral histories have been collected over a period of 30 years, and collectively describe life the in the Hazeltons over a period of several decades. The audio clips will then be made available in MP3 format from a website. Because of the unique nature of the Hazleton community, in that First Nations and Pioneer families have integrated so well, the HAHA expects there will be a great deal of interest in the stories from the community’s formative years.
Project Title: Semiahmoo Sun and White Rock Sun newspapers
Organization: White Rock Museum and Archives
Amount funded: $3,489.50Description: This project digitized issues of the Semiahmoo Sun and White Rock Sun from 1956 to 1966. (Editions from 1940 to 1955 have already been digitized.) Long before its incorporation in 1957 White Rock, BC was a self-aware community with a strong distinct identity. The Semiahmoo Sun (later the White Rock Sun), first published in 1939, was a very important voice for that identity.Semiahmoo Sun and White Rock Sun Collection
Project Title: VanDusen Garden slides
Organization: City of Vancouver Archives
Amount funded: $7,000Description: This project digitized the 5,250 slides belonging to the VanDusen Botanical Garden Association fonds in the Archives’ holdings. The collection includes images taken throughout the history of the Garden and records the specimens which were planted over the decades. The collection has broad appeal to those interested in gardens or garden history in BC and around the world. Further, the botanical images, precisely identified, will be of interest to anyone who needs visual identification of specimens and examples of specimens.VanDusen Garden Collection
Project Title: McLennan and McFeely catalogue
Organization: City of Vancouver Archives
Amount funded: $2,411Description: The project concerns one volume of approximately 1,700 pages, which was published in thematic sections from 1909 – 1914. It is a hardware catalogue, but includes a wide variety of items. Many of the products pictured and described were sold across North America. While the catalogue itself is rare and informative, it represents an important business in the history of Vancouver. The digitized catalogue will be of interest to museums and private collectors researching the usage of artifacts, to architectural researchers or owners of historic houses, and to social history researchers.McLenna and McFeely Catalogue
Project Title: Intellectual Access (CPR Photos)
Organization: Revelstoke Railway Museum
Amount funded: $3,120Description: This project digitized the photographic collection of the Revelstoke Railway Museum. These 3,370 unique images illustrate the history of the Canadian Pacific Railway within Revelstoke and the surrounding region dating from the late 1800s to the present. Railways are central to British Columbia’s and Canada’s history. These images are particularly relevant to BC history in that they show how the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway prevented the southern interior of British Columbia from becoming part of the United States.Revelstoke Railway Museum Photographs
Project Title: Salt Spring Island Pioneers, Landmarks and Buildings
Organization: Salt Spring Island Archives
Amount funded: $8,000Description: The Salt Spring Archives digitized several historically significant collections totaling over 2000 photos and audiotapes. Each of the collections represents people or institutions important to Salt Spring’s history. This project will give historians, genealogists, researchers, and the public access to a fuller, richer picture of life on the island in the past.Salt Spring Island Archives Collection
Project Title: Historic Video Archives Digitization Project
Organization: Satellite Video Exchange Society (Video In/Video Out Distribution)
Amount funded: $15,000Description: The Historic Video Archives Digitization Project aims to make significant artworks, community documentaries and video documentation of community protest and activism since 1973 available to the public. The SVES (Video Out Distribution) video archives holds approximately 8,000 videotapes, 4,000 of which are disseminated by the nonprofit Video Out Distribution, but many are languishing unplayable and deteriorating. This project cleaned and restored the most significant historical and artistic works and digitized them for viewing online. The project will allow community organizations to access important events and video documents from their history in British Columbia and make available seminal art works on video that were made at a time when Vancouver was at the apex of an International video art movement.VIVO Historical Video Archives


For more information please contact:

Mimi Lam
BC History Digitization Program

Bronwen Sprout
Digital Programs and Services