Media Release | Nov. 7, 2011

Historical B.C. newspapers digitized by UBC Library

For the first time, more than 45,000 pages chronicling B.C.’s storied past are available online following the completion of a British Columbia Historical Newspapers Project.

The University of British Columbia project, led by the UBC Library’s Digital Initiatives unit and generously supported by a private family foundation, features digitized versions of 24 historical papers from around the province.

The newspapers, which range from the Abbotsford Post to the Phoenix Pioneer, date from 1865 to 1924. All are available for free online viewing at

“UBC Library’s digital collection of British Columbia newspapers makes the exciting history of the province’s early development readily available to a wide reading public,” says Bob McDonald, an associate professor in UBC’s Department of History.

“These newspapers tell the story of logging at Port Alberni, farming in the Fraser Valley, silver mining in the Kootenays and social conflict at Cumberland.”

The publications are fully searchable and browsable; single pages can be downloaded in the JPEG format, while entire issues are downloadable as PDFs.

Another highlight is the Today in History feature, which allows users to discover the news stories of small-town B.C. that correspond to the present date but took place in centuries past.

The project involved the scanning of microfilm from BC Archives. Publications were then separated into single pages and sent to UBC Library on DVDs, where they were uploaded. A student from the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies wrote descriptions of the newspapers, while members of the Library’s IT team developed an innovative and user-friendly viewer that can be used for future projects.

It’s likely that more titles will be added to the historical newspapers site in the future.

“This is an excellent example of UBC Library advancing its digital agenda and connecting with communities at UBC and around the province,” says Allan Bell, director of Library Digital Initiatives. “We’re grateful for the support and excited about pursuing projects that bring the Library to the world.”

About UBC Library
UBC Library advances research, learning and teaching excellence by connecting communities within and beyond UBC to the world’s knowledge. The Library, a high-ranking member of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), has 21 branches and divisions, and is the largest library in British Columbia. Its collections include more than six million volumes, nearly 551,000 e-books, more than 846,000 maps, audio, video and graphic materials, and more than 97,000 serial titles. The Library provides access to expanding digital resources and houses an on-site digitization centre. For more information, visit

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Glenn Drexhage
UBC Library
Tel: 604.827.3434

Lorraine Chan
UBC Public Affairs
Tel: 604.822.2644




Courtesy of UBC Library.

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